The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Jinxed Olympics’ new blow... a huge typhoon

- By Scarlet Howes and Gavin Blair IN TOKYO

FIRST came Covid, then the unbearable heat – and now an incoming typhoon could further batter Tokyo’s ‘cursed’ Olympics.

Forecaster­s fear that torrential rain and 56mph winds could hit Japan by Tuesday, leaving only the surfers happy. Meteorolog­ist Jim Rouiller said: ‘That is really all they need. A tropical storm coming right towards Tokyo.’

Rowing competitio­ns scheduled for Monday have been brought forward to today as Tropical Storm Nepartak bears down.

Surfing is making its debut appearance at the Games and large waves were forming yesterday at the competitio­n site of Tsurigasak­i Beach, 40 miles east of the capital. ‘There are going to be good waves. There’s a strong typhoon off the coast of Japan and we know that the waves are getting bigger,’ said Internatio­nal Surfing Associatio­n president Fernando Aguerre.

But the torrential rain could play havoc with other events, including the dressage, where Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin is going for gold.

Organisers of the delayed Games had boasted that ‘with many days of mild and sunny weather, this period provides an ideal climate for athletes to perform at their best’. But it is not unusual for Tokyo summers to be extremely hot and humid, and in 2018 more than 1,000 people died in a heatwave. In 2019 the organisers moved many of the endurance events, including the marathon, 500 miles north of the capital, where the climate is cooler.

Last week, a beach volleyball training session had to be postponed when players complained the sand was too hot for their bare feet. Yesterday, temperatur­es hit 93F (34C) with humidity up to 70 per cent. Athletes, including Team GB rower Victoria Thornley, had to cool down with ice vests.

After the Games were delayed a year because of Covid and there were issues over the price and design of the stadium, deputy prime minister and finance minister Taro Aso said they were ‘cursed’. Polls suggest only 19 per cent of Japanese believe the event can be held safely in the pandemic.

Friday’s subdued opening ceremony saw just 950 of the 68,000 arena seats taken and there is regular testing and social distancing. There have been 127 Covid cases related to the Games and Tokyo is under a state of emergency, with the public banned from all events.

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