Australia’s softball players are the first Olympic athletes to arrive in Japan.


Australia’s nationwide girls’s softball crew on Tuesday turned the primary worldwide rivals to reach in Japan forward of the Tokyo Olympics, a present of confidence in a beleaguered event that’s struggling towards a coronavirus outbreak and growing public opposition.

The 23 gamers and 10 workers members, all of whom have been vaccinated towards Covid-19, landed at Narita International Airport exterior Tokyo and have been touring to town of Ota, the place they’ll prepare earlier than transferring into the Olympic Village on July 17.

The crew, often called the Aussie Spirit, should strictly restrict its actions as Japan tries to include a protracted fourth wave of the coronavirus. On Friday, the Japanese government extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and eight different prefectures till June 20. In different prefectures — together with Gunma, the place the Australian gamers will prepare — emergency measures curbing companies’ working hours and capability at sure venues are set to run out on June 13.

New every day infections have declined greater than 40 p.c previously two weeks, in keeping with a New York Times database, however Japan remains to be recording greater than three,500 circumstances per day, probably the most since January.

The Australian crew will likely be confined to 1 degree of a lodge, the place the gamers will eat meals, work out and have conferences. They will be capable of go away the lodge solely to coach.

“They’ll be extremely limited in what they’ll be able to do every day, and that’s going to take, for them, another sacrifice, but it’s a sacrifice they’re up for,” Ian Chesterman, vice chairman of the Australian Olympic Committee, mentioned on Monday.

The gamers haven’t competed towards any worldwide groups since February 2020, as Australia’s borders have been almost completely closed because the begin of the pandemic. Their early arrival in Japan will enable them to coach towards skilled Japanese softball golf equipment and the Japan nationwide crew. Of the 23 Australian gamers who traveled to Japan, a crew of 15 will likely be chosen to compete within the Games, that are scheduled to start on July 23.