Tokyo Olympic competition opens with Japan-Australia softball game

Jul 21 , 2021. 9 minutes ago – 09:47 KYODO NEWS

Players of Australia (L) and Japan line up before the Tokyo Olympic softball tournament’s opening game at Fukushima Azuma stadium in Fukushima, northeastern Japan, on July 21, 2021, two days before the opening ceremony of the Olympics. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

FUKUSHIMA, Japan – The Tokyo Olympics began after a one-year postponement due to the coronavirus with the first pitch of Wednesday’s game between host and defending champion Japan and Australia at Fukushima Azuma Stadium, north of the capital.

Sixteen months after the decision was made to delay the Olympics and two days before the official opening ceremony in Tokyo, the games in Fukushima will, like most other Olympic events, be held behind closed doors due to surging infection figures.

For 19 days, through Aug. 8, 11,000 athletes from 205 countries and regions, will compete at venues in and outside the Japanese capital, which is currently under a state of emergency.

Australia’s softball team, with three bronze medals and a silver in softball, took extra precautions considering the difficult circumstances, arriving in Japan on June 1 to ensure a good chance to prepare for the big event.

Softball, one of the sports added by Tokyo organizers, returns to the Olympics for the first time since 2008, when Japan won its only gold medal in the sport. It is joined by baseball, also dropped after 2008, and new sports, surfing, sport climbing, skate boarding and karate.

Yukiko Ueno of Japan pitches against Australia in the Tokyo Olympic softball tournament’s opening game at Fukushima Azuma stadium in Fukushima, northeastern Japan, on July 21, 2021, two days before the opening ceremony of the Olympics. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Cr. KYODO NEWS