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Team GB chief opens up on Olympics concern

Team GB chief opens up on Olympics concern
© Reuters
Shooter Amber Hill, 23, tested positive for coronavirus shortly before her scheduled departure for Japan.

Amber Hill became the third British athlete to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics due to a positive coronavirus test only hours after Team GB chief Mark England conceded that navigating the Games would not be an “easy ride”.

Hill, who was due to be the top-ranked competitor in the women’s skeet shooting competition, tested positive shortly prior to her scheduled departure, joining tennis players Johanna Konta and Dan Evans, both of whom withdrew last week.

The 23-year-old’s misfortune will hardly have eased nerves in the Team GB camp, following the news that six British athletes had been forced to self-isolate at their preparation camp in Yokohama due to being deemed close contacts of a positive case on their flight.

Tokyo Olympics 2020 – Kitting Out – Birmingham NEC
Amber Hill had been expected to win a medal in the women’s skeet competition (Mike Egerton/PA)

Chef de mission England had better news for the group, who have all been assured they will be able to compete in their respective events due to a clarification issued by the International Olympic Committee.

“This is a rule that was presented to everybody only in the last 48 hours by the IOC and Tokyo 2020,” England said.

“Any athlete in the Olympic Games that has been contacted for track-and-trace and is isolating, as long as they presenting negative tests… they are allowed to enter the field of play.”

It will not come as any solace to Hill that what England calls Team GB’s “robust” protocols have prevented any infections breaching its bubble in Japan.

Hill said: “There are no words to describe how I’m feeling right now.

“After five years of training and preparation, I’m absolutely devastated to say that last night I received a positive Covid-19 test, meaning I’ve had to withdraw from Team GB’s shooting team.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Preview – Tuesday July 20th
Friday’s opening ceremony will take place in front of empty seats (Mike Egerton/PA)

She added on Instagram: “Broken is about the only way to describe the pain I’m feeling.”

The six affected athletes in Tokyo have been able to continue training, albeit being otherwise restricted to their individual rooms where they must also take their meals.

One of them, 400 hurdler Jessie Knight, told the Guardian: “Initially my heart sank because I thought I was going to be told I had it. To be honest there was panic. I called my coach straightaway and I said ‘please don’t call my family’, because I thought they would just go into panic mode too.”

SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships – Day Two – Emirates Arena
Hurdler Jessie Knight is one of six athletes forced to self-isolate in Tokyo (Ian Rutherford/PA)

Seven international athletes have now tested positive for the virus in the Japanese capital, with the latest additions, a Chilean taekwondo player and a Dutch skateboarder, becoming the first arrivals to be definitely ruled out of the Games as a result.

While athletes deemed close contacts are able to effectively continue training and competing as normal, those who test positive are required to spend a mandatory 10 days in isolation, which is likely to rule the majority affected out of competition.

England added: “We are a couple of days away from the opening ceremony and not one of those athletes, not one of the support staff, not one of the personnel engaging with Team GB has tested positive.

Sport – Update on 2016 Rio Olympic Games – BAE Systems
Team GB chief Mark England has told athletes to “buckle up” for a bumpy ride (John Walton/PA)

“So there should be huge confidence in our Covid mitigation measures, the testing regime that we adhere to, to not only support our Team GB but also the Japanese people and volunteers.

“We want everyone back home to buckle up. It won’t be an easy ride but it will be exciting and there will be some memories that I’m sure will live long.”

Nevertheless the nerves are evident in the fact that under 30 Team GB athletes are set to march at the opening ceremony on Friday, with many electing to stay away due to coronavirus concerns.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States19201352
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151238
Great BritainGreat Britain9101231
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events

· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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