Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games underway despite coronavirus threat

The 2020 Olympic games are underway despite the event being steeped in the political and medical baggage of a relentless pandemic

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are finally underway after they were postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, the opening ceremony took place in the empty Olympic Stadium at Japan’s capital overshadowed by the pandemic.

A few hundred officials, which included French President Emmanuel Macron, United States First Lady Jill Biden and Japanese Emperor Naruhito attended the ceremony.

Spectators have also been barred from most Olympic events.

Competitions began Wednesday morning with Japan's softball team facing off against Australia at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.

The Maltese contingent was led by flag bearers Elanor Bezzina and Andrew Chetcuti.

Bezzina will represent Malta in the shooting discipline, while Andrew Chetcuti is competing in the 100-metre swimming sprint.

Other athletes representing Malta in this year’s Olympics include weight lifter Yazmin Zammit Stevens, swimmer Sasha Gatt and badminton player Matthew Abela.

This year’s competition has been marred by a number of controversies, such as locals’ opposition to the games being hosted despite the rise in coronavirus cases.

New COVID-19 cases continue to be registered in the Japanese capital, despite authorities’ efforts to curb the surge.

A recent poll found some 55% of people in Japan were opposed to holding the Games, amid fears it could become a coronavirus super-spreader event.

There are already 75 new COVID-19 infections, which include a handful of vaccinated athletes.

The latest controversy concerns Kentaro Kobayashi, the show director for the opening ceremony. He was removed on the eve of the opening after footage which was taken in the 1990s showed him joking about the Holocaust.


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