Coe applauds organisers

06 May 2021 | Sports

NAMPA/REUTERS



World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe on Wednesday gave Tokyo Olympic organisers high marks for a marathon test event they staged in Sapporo, saying they were able to deliver both on the operation of the race and on their Covid-19 countermeasures.

The Sapporo Challenge Half Marathon 2021 was held on Wednesday as a dress rehearsal for the marquee Olympic event, with less than three months before the summer Games begin.

Six international athletes participated in the event in the northern city and had to go through stringent testing protocols before and after entering Japan.

“The organising committee here not only demonstrated the ability to stage an event on the field of play, it also demonstrated the ability to deliver across other complexities including, of course, the Covid-19 protocols,” Coe told a news conference.

All participants, including staff and media, had to log their temperature and answer a health questionnaire daily in the week leading up to the event, either through a mobile app or on paper.

Organisers urged spectators not to come and watch the race, with event staff holding signs reading: “To prevent infection, please refrain from watching”.

Nevertheless, a handful of observers turned out for a glimpse of the action. Staff wore masks and sometimes face shields and plastic gloves.

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