Re­lief for Tokyo 2020 af­ter smooth test

Global Times US Edition - - SPORTS -

France won a thrilling mixed triathlon test event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Sun­day, which passed off as planned in a wel­come boost for or­ga­niz­ers af­ter dif­fi­cul­ties with high tem­per­a­tures and wa­ter pol­lu­tion.

The swim­ming leg of the para­triathlon on Satur­day was scrapped af­ter wa­ter tests showed levels of e-coli bac­te­ria more than dou­ble the ac­cept­able stan­dard and the run­ning sec­tion of a women’s test event on Thurs­day was cur­tailed in blis­ter­ing tem­per­a­tures, with French ath­lete Cas­san­dre Beau­grand treated for heat­stroke.

But on Sun­day in the Ja­panese cap­i­tal with the tem­per­a­ture a slightly cooler 30 C, the levels of bac­te­ria reduced to within per­mit­ted levels.

The mixed re­lay, a new event for Tokyo 2020 in­volv­ing two men and two women, was won by France in a photo fin­ish from Great Bri­tain af­ter a nail­bit­ing fi­nal sprint.

Do­rian Con­nix chased down Alex Yee on the fi­nal straight de­spite be­ing be­hind for most of the race and breasted the tape frac­tion­ally ahead of his Bri­tish competitor. A pow­er­ful US team came third.

The for­mat is much shorter than the in­di­vid­ual race with each ath­lete com­plet­ing a 300-me­ter swim, a 7.4-kilo­me­ter cy­cle and a twok­ilo­me­ter run be­fore hand­ing off to a team­mate, making it less de­mand­ing in hot weather.

Battling the heat of the swel­ter­ing sum­mer has be­come the main challenge for or­ga­niz­ers, who have oth­er­wise won wide­spread praise, in­clud­ing from the IOC, for their prepa­ra­tions.

Ya­suo Mori, deputy ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Tokyo 2020 Games Op­er­a­tions Bureau, said ath­letes needed to have greater ac­cess to wa­ter dur­ing the race.

The In­ter­na­tional Triathlon Union (ITU) would ex­am­ine in­creas­ing the num­ber of wa­ter sup­ply points and was de­ploy­ing med­i­cal staff ev­ery 500 me­ters along the course in case of an emergency, Mori added.

Aside from the prob­lems at the triathlon, about a dozen peo­ple, in­clud­ing a spec­ta­tor, were taken ill at a row­ing test event in the pre­vi­ous week with sus­pected heat­stroke.

A con­struc­tion worker also died on an Olympic site as Tokyo sweats through a pro­longed and deadly heat wave.

The triathlon test events have courted con­tro­versy even with­out the heat – two Bri­tish ath­letes were dis­qual­i­fied on Thurs­day for cross­ing the line first hold­ing hands. [email protected] globaltime­s.com.cn

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