Japanese gymnast Uchimura tests positive for COVID-19
TOKYO (JAPAN) – Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura has tested positive for COVID-19 ten days before taking part in an international meet seen as a major test of how Tokyo will hold events ahead of next year’s Olympics, organisers announced on Thursday.
The meet will be the first international event to be held at a Tokyo Olympic venue.
Organisers said it was unclear whether Uchimura, a three-time Olympic gold medallist, will be withdrawing from the Nov. 8 meet that will also have athletes from China, Russia and the United States. However, the event is still scheduled to be conducted as planned.
The president of the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), Morinari Watanabe, told reporters during an online news conference on Thursday that Uchimura was asymptomatic.
“He is in a very stable condition,” Watanabe said, adding that Uchimura was resting in his room at the national training centre where the team has been staying for a week and would be monitored for the next six days. He will be re-tested on Nov. 4 and 5 and could still take part if both tests are negative.
Watanabe added that all the other members of the Japanese team have so far tested negative. They would be tested again on Friday, along with other staff members. It is unknown if Uchimura had become infected in the centre or before entering.
He also said that the event, the Friendship and Solidarity Competition at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, would continue even if the Japanese team is left with no option to withdraw and that all the international athletes had so far tested negative.
“At this point it’s just Uchimura. If we find out it’s spread through the rest of the team, at that point they might pull out,” he said.
He added, “All the other teams have been isolated in their countries – don’t put these two issues together.”
The other athletes are set to arrive on Nov. 4 and 5 under strict rules. They are allowed to move only between practices, the event venue and their hotel.
Watanabe said he hoped the meet would an opportunity towards holding a successful Olympics next year.