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Today at the Olympics: Tokyo prepares for opening ceremony without fans

Only around 30 of more than 200 Team GB athletes are expected to march at the ceremony inside an empty Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

Tokyo is bracing for an opening ceremony like no other at the Olympic Stadium on Friday night, with the athletes' parade and traditional lighting of the torch taking place in front of empty stands.

Only around 30 of more than 200 Team GB athletes are expected to march at the ceremony, where there will be significantly reduced delegations from the biggest nations amid concerns around coronavirus.

Irish world champion Sanita Puspure and Great Britain's Vicky Thornley made strong starts to their campaigns in the women's single sculls as the rowing got under way on Friday – the pair winning their respective heats.

British trio Sarah Bettles, Bryony Pitman and Naomi Folkard were also in action in the individual women's archery ranking round, as were compatriots Patrick Huston, James Woodgate and Tom Hill in the men's equivalent.

Picture of the day

Mallory Franklin practices at the Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre (Mike Egerton/PA)
Mallory Franklin practices at the Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre (Mike Egerton/PA)

What's happened so far today?

James Woodgate was in action on Friday (Adam Davy/PA)
James Woodgate was in action on Friday (Adam Davy/PA)

All eyes will be on Friday's opening ceremony but there has been some action, most notably in the rowing. Puspure, the world champion in both 2018 and 2019, won her heat at the Sea Forest Waterway with more than eight seconds to spare to cruise through to the quarter-finals. Thornley, the first British female single sculler to gain Olympic selection for 20 years, also crossed the line first in her heat, nearly three seconds ahead of Switzerland's Jeannine Gmelin. Bettles, Pitman, Folkard, Huston, Woodgate and Hill also learned who they will face in the competition bracket. Bettles was the best placed Briton on Friday, finishing 15th.

Social media moment

Covid update

Three of the latest to test positive for coronavirus were athletes, one of whom was residing in the Olympic Village (Mike Egerton/PA)
Three of the latest to test positive for coronavirus were athletes, one of whom was residing in the Olympic Village (Mike Egerton/PA)

The number of positive cases affecting individuals with Olympic accreditations rose by 19 on the day of the opening ceremony, taking the number who have tested positive since July 1 past the hundred mark. Three of the latest to test positive were athletes, one of whom was residing in the Olympic Village. One was an athlete from the Netherlands while there were two more cases confirmed by the Czech Republic, taking the number of positives in the Czech camp alone to six.

Friday TV Guide

Tokyo 2020, opening ceremony - Eurosport 1 1130, BBC One 1200.
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