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Tokyo 2020 belatedly gets under way

Tokyo 2020 belatedly gets under way
© Reuters
Softball action got the Games started two days before the opening ceremony.

The rearranged Tokyo Olympics got under way in low-key fashion on Wednesday as Japan’s women’s softball team prevailed over Australia in Fukushima.

Coronavirus continues to cast a shadow over the Games, postponed by 12 months to this summer, and an opening event that was supposed to provide a boost to Fukushima a decade after its nuclear disaster was played in an empty arena.

But it was a winning start nonetheless for the hosts, who emerged 8-1 victors, as softball made its Olympic return for the first time since Beijing 2008. The sport is not on the roster for Paris 2024.

While the opening ceremony is not until Friday, both the softball and women’s football programmes began 48 hours earlier, the latter because of the sheer volume of fixtures.

Picture of the day

Canada’s Celina Toth practice for the diving 10m platform at Tokyo Aquatics Centre (Mike Egerton/PA)
Canada’s Celina Toth practice for the diving 10m platform at Tokyo Aquatics Centre (Mike Egerton/PA)

What’s happened so far today?

The opposition to these Games among the Japanese public has been well publicised and while their fears should not be dismissed, they were given something to smile about as their women’s softball team easily defeated Australia. Minori Naito, Yamato Fujita and Yu Yamamoto all hit home runs for the hosts at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, where the United States later edged out Italy 2-0 while Canada and Mexico face-off later on Wednesday.

Social media moment

What’s coming up today

Hege Riise has urged her Team GB women's football side to forget their emotions if they want to win Olympic gold (Mike Egerton/PA)
Hege Riise has urged her Team GB women’s football side to forget their emotions if they want to win Olympic gold (Mike Egerton/PA)

Team GB’s women’s football team get their campaign under way on Wednesday as they take on Chile at 8.30amBST in Sapporo. Head coach Hege Riise said on the eve of the tournament: “It will be an emotional rollercoaster and how we deal with that individually and as a team will be crucial.” In the other Group E fixture, Japan take on Canada at the same venue. In Group F, China face Brazil while Zambia go up against Holland, both in Rifu, while in Group G, Sweden play the United States and Australia go head-to-head with Antipodean rivals New Zealand. Canada-Mexico concludes the women’s softball action on Wednesday.

Covid update

A Chilean taekwondo player and a Dutch skateboarder have become the first athletes to be ruled out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after testing positive for coronavirus. Fernanda Aguirre, who was due to compete on Sunday in the same -57kg category as Jade Jones, posted two positive tests after arriving in Tokyo from Uzbekistan. Meanwhile 31-year-old Candy Jacobs, who was due to compete in the women’s street event on Monday, is also out after testing positive.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States42410
Republic of KoreaRepublic of Korea2035
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia1427
19  Great BritainGreat Britain0112
Today's Olympic highlights header

Monday's key events

· Jonny Brownlee will look to make the most of his brother Alistair's absence as he goes for gold in the men's triathlon (10.30pm-1am)

· Team GB get their campaign underway with two matches, against Canada and Japan (from 1.30am)

· One of Team GB's biggest gold medal hopes, Adam Peaty, will take part in the 100m breaststroke final. (3.12am)
· Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky go head to head for gold in the women's 400m freestyle final (3.20am)

· Tom Daley and Matty Lee take part in the men's 10m synchro final (7am-8am)

· The men's team final takes place (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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