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Japan holds Tokyo Olympics test event to demonstrate safety protocols

A half marathon was held on Wednesday in Japan, as Olympics organisers hoped to show COVID-19 safety measures would ensure a safe running of the games this summer.

The Tokyo Olympics test was actually held in the northern city of Sapporo instead of the capital, due to organisers’ concerns over the summer heat in Tokyo.

Athletes from overseas were part of the field for the half-marathon on what will be the Olympic course, where a system was in place to ensure athletes didn’t come into contact with the general public.

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto said she hoped it would be an example to the world that proper coronavirus countermeasures can ensure safe sport.

The Hokkaido-Sapporo Marathon Festival 2021 half-marathon event was an important test for Tokyo 2020 organisers and the IOC with the scheduled start of the delayed Summer Olympics less than three months away.

Several regions of Japan, including the capital, are currently under a COVID state of emergency.

Tokyo, Osaka and several other areas came under a third state of emergency last week, and the death toll in Japan from COVID-19 has passed 10,000.

The postponed Olympics are to open on July 23.

Last month Hashimoto hinted that the games could be held behind closed doors with no spectators, due to the ongoing virus situation.

It has already been announced by organisers that international spectators wouldn’t be permitted to attend the delayed 2020 games.

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