Team Solidarity was named the winners of a gymnastics competition considered to be a key preparation event for the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Around 30 gymnasts from Japan, Russia, China, and the United States attended the Friendship and Solidarity competition at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo.
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Strict COVID-19 protocols were in place, with the 2,000 spectators able to attend. Wearing face masks and socially distanced around the venue. Attendees, including athletes and media members, had their body temperature checked on arrival and were sprayed with sanitizing mist. While apparatus in training halls and on the field of play was gutted. And clean at the end of each session.
Required to Quarantine for two weeks
Each gymnast from the visiting teams was required to quarantine for two weeks before leaving for Japan. While movement in Tokyo has been restricted to the venue and official hotel. Teams inwards in Japan on charter aeroplanes and athletes were kept away from other passengers after landing at the airport.
Each team has its reserved floor at the hotel, which is monitored by security guards. Team Solidarity triumphed after scoring 423,600 points, with Team Friendship finishing on 421,300. The winning team featured Russia’s reigning all-around world champion Nikita Nagornyy and Japan’s two-time Olympic all-around champion Kōhei Uchimura.
Uchimura had caused alarm last week when he tested positive for coronavirus. But was later confirmed to have given a false positive. The event has been seen as something of a dress rehearsal for the Olympic Games. Which were rescheduled to July 23 to August 8 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. IOC President Thomas Bach delivered a video message at the start of the competition. And requested the gymnasts were “setting an example”.
“With this rivalry, you are also setting an example. That sports can be prearranged safely even under the ongoing health limits, he supposed. Nagornyy echoed this sentimentality. For any athletes, next year’s Olympics will be the most important competition of their lives,” he said.
In today’s competition, I wish to show the world that the Olympics can be held even under a pandemic. Organizers are set to meet with Tokyo Olympic officials soon to share. What was learned from holding the event during the global health crisis?
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