Sport Athletics chief Coe says Tokyo Games can be 'beacon of hope'
A's extend win streak to 13 with 7-2 victory over Orioles
BALTIMORE (AP) — The Oakland Athletics were not deterred by a six-game losing streak to open the season. They were simply going to “Ride the Wave,” a mantra the team embraced to get past the adversity. Jed Lowrie hit a three-run homer and the Athletics won their 13th straight game, building a big lead early and beating the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 on a rainy Saturday night. “You just go out there and grind on it," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said about the challenging conditions. “Play as long as you can until someone says it's no longer playable.”This is the third-longest winning streak in Oakland history.
World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe said Sunday he believes the coronavirus-postponed Tokyo Olympics can be "a beacon of hope and optimism", despite infections surging in Japan and other countries.
A virus state of emergency in Tokyo and other parts of Japan was extended on Friday, less than three months before the Games are due to begin.
The emergency measures come as Olympic organisers struggle to win over a sceptical Japanese public, who fear the Games could spread infections despite a ban on overseas fans and possibly domestic spectators too.
Seb Coe Q&A: Track and field’s global conversation and the sport’s hot topics
Seb Coe, World Athletics President, discussed track's global conversation and answered questions on athlete protests, Christian Coleman and Caster Semenya.Not only do the Olympic Games open in three months, but the sport will also have an unprecedented run of global outdoor championships in five consecutive years — Tokyo Olympics; 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon; 2023 World Championships in Budapest; Paris Olympics and 2025 World Championships at a to-be-determined venue.
But Coe, speaking at an athletics test event held behind closed doors at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium, said he believes the Games can "have a profound impact" on the world and moved to reassure the Japanese public that "we take those concerns very, very seriously".
"I think that it will also act as a beacon of hope and optimism in a world that I hope is soon moving back to some type of normalcy," he told reporters.
"I think that these Games will leave a strong lasting legacy, not just for Japan but at a time when the world is coming to terms with some pretty difficult and harrowing months."
Japan's Covid-19 outbreak remains much smaller than in many countries, with just over 10,500 deaths.
'Don't watch' - fans warned off Tokyo Olympics marathon test
Spectators were urged to stay away as a subdued Tokyo Olympics marathon rehearsal took place under strict anti-coronavirus conditions in Sapporo on Wednesday, as officials grapple with a rise in infections and public antipathy to the Games. The marathon was at the centre of controversy in the original build-up to the 2020 Games, when it was moved to Sapporo from Tokyo to avoid the capital's punishing summer heat.Scattered onlookers in facemasks clapped but refrained from cheering, to avoid spreading droplets, as Kenya's Hillary Kipkoech won the scaled-back men's half-marathon in 1hr 46sec and Japan's Mao Ichiyama was the women's winner in 1hr 8min 28sec.
Video: Olympics-Tokyo organisers bid to allay Sapporo test event concerns (Reuters)
But its vaccine rollout is moving slowly and some areas have seen record cases as more infectious variants drive fresh waves of contagion.
More than 10,000 athletes from 200 countries and regions are set to travel to Tokyo for the Games, with a decision on how many domestic fans -- if any -- can attend to be taken in June.
More than 300,000 people have signed an online petition titled "Cancel the Tokyo Olympics to protect our lives", launched Wednesday by a lawyer and former Tokyo gubernatorial candidate.
A group of around 100 people staged a protest outside Sunday's athletics test event, which featured 420 athletes, including nine from overseas.
Olympic organisers insist the Games can be held safely and have laid down strict guidelines for athletes, warning they could be kicked out if they break the rules.
"There's not an athletics federation that will be coming here that doesn't understand the importance of following the rules and the regulations," Coe said.
"The athletes are very keen to be here but they also know that they have a responsibility to do everything they possibly can for the infection not to spread."
Coe admitted that the virus restrictions mean "this is not, under any circumstances, business as usual" and that there are "no perfect solutions" to determine which athletes qualify for the Games.
But he insisted that the competition will be "fair", and that he has been "consistently bowled over" by the athletes' ability to deal with the restrictions.
"I think everybody is in the same boat here."
Japan to expand virus emergency ahead of Tokyo Olympics .
TOKYO (AP) — Japan is set to further expand a coronavirus state of emergency, currently in Tokyo and five other prefectures, to nine areas as the government is determined to hold the Olympics in just over two months. Japan has been struggling to slow the infections ahead of the Games. The three additions include Japan’s northern island state of Hokkaido, where the Olympic marathon will be held, as well as Hiroshima and Okayama in western Japan. The three areas on Sunday will join Tokyo, Osaka and four other prefectures already under the coronavirus restrictions, until May 31, Economy Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters.