COVID-19: US athletes cancel Olympic training camp in Japan over coronavirus concerns ahead of Tokyo games

US athletes have cancelled a training event in Japan over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are due to start on 23 July, having already been delayed by a year.

The US track and field team cancelled a preparation camp that was set to take place in the Chiba prefecture, which neighbours the country’s capital.

A statement from the Chiba administration said the event was put off “out of concerns for their athletes’ safety”.

So far there has been no comment from the US athletics team.

Chiba governor Toshihito Kumagai said: “It is a shame they have decided to cancel, but I believe they made the best decision possible in the current situation.”

There are growing calls in Japan for the Olympics to be cancelled, with the demands the money instead spent on recovering from the COVID pandemic.

Japan, while avoiding the worst outcomes of the outbreak, has still suffered 653,363 cases and 11,045 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Organisers are preparing to offer roughly 2,500 Olympic and Paralympic competitors and staff a coronavirus vaccine from donated shots.

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About 1.05% of the Japanese population, or 1,319,881 people, has been fully vaccinated.

Officials have stated that Olympic vaccination efforts will not affect the country’s domestic drive.

Pfizer and BioNTech have said they will donate the doses to the International Olympic Committee to help with its programme.

Calls to cancel or postpone the games have been met with resistance from organisers.

Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, said: “I personally can’t stand that the criticism and calls to cancel or boycott the Olympics are being aimed at the athletes themselves.”

She added: “It strengthens my resolve to ensure we have the proper measures in place to make the Olympics safe for athletes.”

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