Australia’s softball players are the first Olympic athletes to arrive in Japan.

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Australia’s nationwide ladies’s softball staff on Tuesday grew to become the primary worldwide opponents to reach in Japan forward of the Tokyo Olympics, a present of confidence in a beleaguered occasion that’s struggling in opposition to a coronavirus outbreak and rising public opposition.

The 23 gamers and 10 employees members, all of whom have been vaccinated in opposition to Covid-19, landed at Narita Worldwide Airport exterior Tokyo and traveled to town of Ota, the place they may practice earlier than shifting into the Olympic Village on July 17.

The staff, generally known as the Aussie Spirit, should strictly restrict its actions as Japan tries to comprise a protracted fourth wave of the coronavirus. On Friday, the Japanese authorities prolonged a state of emergency in Tokyo and eight different prefectures till June 20. In different prefectures — together with Gunma, the place the Australian gamers will practice — emergency measures curbing companies’ working hours and capability at sure venues are set to run out on June 13.

New every day infections within the nation have declined greater than 40 p.c up to now two weeks, in line with a New York Occasions database, however Japan continues to be recording greater than 3,500 circumstances per day, probably the most since January.

The Australian staff will probably be confined to 1 degree of a resort, the place the gamers will eat meals, work out and have conferences. They are going to be capable to go away the resort solely to coach.

“They’ll be extraordinarily restricted in what they’ll be capable to do on daily basis, and that’s going to take, for them, one other sacrifice, however it’s a sacrifice they’re up for,” Ian Chesterman, vp of the Australian Olympic Committee, stated on Monday.

The gamers haven’t competed in opposition to any worldwide groups since February 2020, as Australia’s borders have been nearly utterly closed because the begin of the pandemic. Their early arrival in Japan will permit them to coach in opposition to skilled Japanese softball golf equipment and the Japan nationwide staff. Of the 23 Australian gamers who traveled to Japan, a staff of 15 will probably be chosen to compete within the Video games, that are scheduled to start on July 23.

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