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    Tokyo 2020 Olympics BAN fans from overseas this summer because of Covid fears and travel restrictions

    THIS summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be closed off from overseas fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.Ticket holders unable to attend the Games must apply for refunds after being told they will have to watch from home.
    No fans from overseas will be allowed to attend the 2020 Olympic GamesCredit: EPA
    Organisers have confirmed SunSport’s reports from earlier this month.
    Team GB bosses told athletes at the start of the year not to expect to compete in front of their friends and families.
    Some 600,000 Olympic tickets held by fans from outside of Japan will be eligible for refunds with 300,000 to be handed out for the Paralympics.
    Talks were held between local organisers, the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) before the decision was confirmed on Saturday.
    Upon the announcement, Tokyo 2020 organising committee Toshiro Muto refused to say how much the refunds would cost the Games.
    Hotel cancellation costs will not be covered as Muto stated the decision will ‘ensure a safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese public’.
    The Olympics, delayed by a year due to the pandemic, commence on July 23 with the Paralympics beginning on August 24.
    Japan has recently experienced a rise in coronavirus rates but the month-long state of emergency imposed on Tokyo ends next week.

    There are hopes that local fans will still be allowed to attend the Games despite IOC bosses accepting earlier this year that events could take place behind closed doors.
    Tokyo organisers have faced a plethora of issues in finalising their plans for the disrupted games, including the resignations of a creative director for planning to dress a woman up as a pig for the opening ceremony.
    And organiser Yoshiro Miro was forced to quit weeks following a separate sexism row.
    Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori resigns less than six months before virus-postponed Games after sexist comments More

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    British team that travelled to Poland for European Indoor Athletics Championship in isolation after positive Covid test

    BRITISH athletes that competed at last weekend’s Euro Indoors must self-isolate for ten days following a positive Covid-19 test in the camp.
    The majority of the squad that travelled to Torun in Poland for the European Indoors Athletics Championship – 46 athletes plus 20-odd support staff – will be required to stay at home in line with UK government guidelines.

    British athletes returning from Poland following the European Indoors must self-isolate for ten daysCredit: AFP

    A member of the support staff returned a positive lateral flow test on Tuesday evening – this is despite returning a negative result before flying into the UK.
    It is understood most of the squad, led by new head coach Christian Malcolm, travelled home in the early hours of Monday morning having left their hotel on Sunday evening.
    Athletes had to isolate for five days but this latest development might inconvenience their training schedules.
    A British Athletics spokesperson said: “British Athletics has confirmed that a member of the GB & NI team travelling party returning from Torun provided a positive lateral flow test on the evening of March 9.

    “This has been followed up this morning with a PCR test.
    “As a result, all members of the travelling party will now need to self-isolate for a period of ten days from Monday March 8 (ends Thursday March 18) in line with government guidance.”
    The three-day event was overshadowed by hosts Poland withdrawing their entire 4x400m men’s relay squad after positive coronavirus tests.
    Belgian hurdler Eline Berings was shocked to discover she had tested positive for coronavirus last Saturday despite showing no symptoms.


    I hope this never happens to anyone again and there can be a solution for such situations in the future.Also, if anyone has an idea what might cause a false positive… I’d be happy to hear. Bad luck is not really an answer that suits professional sports…. @vanranstmarc
    — Eline Berings (@ElineBerings) March 9, 2021

    Though she was immediately excluded from competition, the 34-year-old claims she tested NEGATIVE on the Sunday following another a PCR test.
    Berings tweeted: “I hope this never happens to anyone again and there can be a solution for such situations in the future.
    “Also, if anyone has an idea what might cause a false positive…I’d be happy to hear. Bad luck is not really an answer that suits professional sports.”
    False positives could indeed be a major headaches for competitors heading to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics later this summer – as it would almost certainly rule them out of action in the Japanese capital.
    At the Europeans, Britain won 12 medals – two golds, four silvers, six bronzes – to finish third in the standings behind Holland and Portugal.
    This matches their record haul from Glasgow in 2019 and represents their best squad display on foreign soil in the competition’s 55-year history.
    Keely Hodgkinson, the 19-year-old Leigh runner, won 800m gold at her first major champs while US-based Amy-Eloise Markovc was triumphant in the 3,000m on the opening night.

    Sisters Cindy Sember and Tiffany Porter, in the mask, won silver and bronze in the 60m hurdlesCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Keely Hodgkinson became European 800m champion, one of two gold medals won by Britain in Torun, PolandCredit: EPA

    Team GB star and pharmacist Tiffany Porter runs hurdles in fastest time this year wearing a mask More

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    Who is Dame Kelly Holmes and what’s her net worth?

    KELLY HOLMES was born on April 19, 1970 and is a retired Olympic champion having won gold at the Athens Olympics in 2004 in both the 800 and 1500 metres.
    She was brought up in Kent and began training for athletics at the age of 12, joining the Tonbridge Athletics club.

    Kelly followed her 800 metre gold with another in the 1500 metresCredit: PA:Press Association
    What did she win in her career?

    Kelly won her first 1500 metre Commonwealth title in 1994, she went on to regain the title in 2001.
    At the Sydney Olympics in 2000 she won bronze in the 800 metres.
    She won silver in the 800 metres at the World Championships in 2003.
    Won two gold medals at the Athens Olympics in 2004 in both 800 and 1500 metres.

    Kelly was awarded a DBE in 2005 and is officially a Dame.
    Why did she retire?
    Kelly decided to retire in 2005 admitting she was no longer motivated to continue, after learning of the sudden death of Tim O’Brien; a man she met whilst undergoing physiotherapy.
    Speaking at the time she said: “It just totally shook me up and started making me think about my future.”
    She added: “I have achieved everything I wanted to in my life and want to make the most of my life from now on.”

    Kelly’s mother Pam Norman passed away in 2017 from myeloma, a form of blood cancer and the athlete revealed she resorted to self harming on the day she died.

    Kelly has said she battled with self-harm at the height of her career.
    She said: “I had so many injuries and it led to depression, self-harm, a breakdown and anxiety attacks.
    “No one should judge other people, because when it’s your life, it’s hell. I would love to tell my younger self, when she was going through it, that she would be ok. I’d tell her to talk to people.” More

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    Tokyo 2020 Olympics BAN overseas fans from attending Games with fears over spread of Covid

    BRITISH and other overseas fans will be banned from attending the Tokyo Olympics.
    The decision by the Japanese government follows increased Covid concerns among the country’s population.

    Fans will be banned from attending the Tokyo Olympics due to Covid concernsCredit: PA:Press Association

    SunSport revealed how Team GB bosses were preparing for the news in recent months with athletes told to expect their friends and families would not be allowed out to watch them compete.
    That will now be confirmed in the coming days with a decision having been finally taken by the Government and briefed to the country’s official news agency.
    A final meeting with the IOC and International Paralympic Committee next week will then make the decision formal.
    Japanese ministers are anxious about foreign fans spreading the virus and its contagious variants.

    Overseas citizen are still not allowed into Japan although those regulations will be lifted for the ‘Olympic family’ when the Games take place from late July.
    The opening ceremony of the torch relay would also be held without any spectators.
    Sending a statement through the Kyodo agency, Olympoic officials said: “The organising committee has decided it is essential to hold the ceremony in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima behind closed doors.
    “Only permitting participants and invitees to take part in the event, to avoid large crowds forming amid the pandemic.

    Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto has said she wants a decision on whether to let in overseas spectators before the start of the torch relay on March 25.
    The statement continued: “Five parties, the IOC, the IPC (International Paralympic Committee), Tokyo 2020, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the national government, came together for a meeting via online just last week.
    “The decision regarding allowing spectators from overseas to attend the Tokyo 2020 Games will be made by the end of March based on factors including the state of infections in Japan and other countries, possible epidemic-prevention measures, and expert scientific advice will be considered.”

    Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori resigns less than six months before virus-postponed Games after sexist comments More

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    Coronavirus outbreak at European Indoor Championships as Polish 4×400 men’s relay team pull out after positive tests

    POLAND have withdrawn their entire 4x400m men’s relay squad after positive Covid-19 tests.
    And in a further concern for organisers, Belgian hurdler Eline Berings was shocked to discover she had tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday despite showing no symptoms.

    The Arena Torun is hosting the European Athletics Indoor Championships this weekendCredit: EPA

    The host nation will not have representatives in the penultimate event of the final day of the European Indoor Championships in Torun.
    The withdrawal was confirmed on Twitter by the Polish Athletics Association but it is not known yet which members of the side have contracted the killer virus.
    Former British sprinter Jeanette Kwakye, who is the BBC’s mixed-zone reporter on duty this weekend, claimed on her account: “Three of the Polish men 4x400m have tested positive for Covid. They’ve withdrawn the whole team.”
    Kwakye later clarified on live TV that it was TWO not three members of the side had tested positive

    For the home fans watching on TV, this was supposed to be the highlight of the three-day championship.
    Three years ago in Birmingham, the quartet of Karol Zalewski, Rafal Omelko, Lukasz Krawczuk and Jakub Krzewina shocked the United States with an indoor world record display of 3:01.77 at the IAAF World Indoor Championships.
    Certainly the Polish runners were favourites for this relay event and their absence later this afternoon will have improved Britain’s chances of winning the gold.
    Four of the six eligible Brits for this event – Joe Brier, Efe Okoro, Tom Somers, Owen Smith, Lee Thompson and James Williams – will line-up against Belgium, Italy, Holland and the Czech Republic.


    No semi-final for me… apparently I tested positive on covid yesterday. I don’t think I need to explain how devastated I am….
    — Eline Berings (@ElineBerings) March 7, 2021

    Berings, the 2009 European Indoor champion in the 60m hurdles, revealed on social media that she would not be taking part in the semi-finals.
    The 34-year-old tweeted: “Devastated. No semi-final for me…apparently I tested positive on Covid yesterday. I don’t think I need to explain how devastated I am…”
    Denise Lewis, the 2000 Olympic heptathlon champion, said: “It’s a little unsettling. From what I gather, there’s not much internal knowledge within the arena.
    “No-one is aware of it. So it’s all coming through socials. We are still waiting for all the confirmations.

    “It is worrying. Sitting here, I’d be thinking: ‘Wow, are we going to get any more cases?’ It’s difficult.
    “But there was always going to be risk. You are bringing a lot of people together in a short space of time. I know they have all done their best and they are following the protocols.
    “But it is a tiny warm-up area with over 700 athletes as we said. More than we would ordinarily see at these championships. It’s very difficult.”

    Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori resigns less than six months before virus-postponed Games after sexist comments More

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    Tiffany Porter looking to become first athlete to win international medal wearing FACE MASK in Covid prevention measure

    TIFFANY PORTER will bid to become the first athlete to win an international medal while wearing a FACE MASK.
    Despite routine Covid-19 tests, Britain’s masked raider is the only person at the European Indoors Championships in Torun, Poland, to compete with her face completely covered.

    British hurdler Tiffany Porter says she is taking extra precautions as she works in the frontline against Covid-19Credit: AFP

    Wearing such a face mask is ‘no big deal’ and ‘normal’ for Tiffany PorterCredit: EPA

    The 33-year-old mum-of-one, who runs over 60m hurdles indoors, is a pharmacist in the US and works on the frontline in the daily battle against coronavirus.
    Porter said: “It is not different at all. I train every day in a mask. So it’s no big deal.
    “It’s just an added level of protection for me. It’s part of my normal now.
    “I haven’t really been paying attention to any response from teammates. Nobody has said anything about it to me.

    “It just makes me a little bit more comfortable. They did a really good job of testing everybody while we are here.
    “I do understand about what’s been going on for sure. I’ve been a pharmacist since 2012.
    “Obviously dealing with a pandemic and having to be on the frontline in that regard has been a bit different. But other than that, it’s my life.”

    It makes me more comfortable to take every extra precaution… No, I do not judge others for their decisions.
    Tiffany Porter

    Porter qualified for the semi-finals with a heat time of 8.04sec on Saturday.

    But the Michigan-born star criticised herself for the “extremely poorly executed race”, focusing specifically on the unreactive start.
    The 2013 world championship bronze medallist in the 100m hurdles is “fully vaccinated against Covid-19” and knows that mask wearing has “become controversial and politicised”.
    She told her Instagram followers: “It makes me more comfortable to take every extra precaution (even if it’s seen as ‘extra or unnecessary’) and that should be respected.

    “No, I do not judge others for their decisions or their approach to this pandemic.
    “Information regarding the pandemic is rapidly evolving and we acquire new information and guidelines daily.”
    ANDREW POZZI secured his place in the next stage of the men’s 60m hurdles with a winning time of 7.52sec from heat one.

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    Runner Nelly Jepkosgei given three-year ban for dodging drug test by saying sister was in car crash and faking documents

    RUNNER Nelly Jepkosgei has been banned for three years for faking a car accident in order to miss a drug test.
    The 800m star’s husband is said to have told testers that she was with her sister in hospital when they visited her home to carry out a test.

    Nelly Jepkosgei has been banned for three years after missing a drug testCredit: AP:Associated Press

    After the athlete did not return in the alloted hour-window, her representative sent an email to the Athletics Integrity Unit enclosing fake signatures and papers to validate the car crash.
    However doping officers then contacted Kenya police and were told there was no record of the alleged accident.
    The AIU, which oversees doping and misconduct cases, said in its ruling that Jepkosgei admitted the deception after an investigation.
    The former Diamond League runner had listed herself as available for testing at home on March 18, 2020.

    But the AIU added that the hospital confirmed a document about her whereabouts presented by Jepkosgei was ‘forged.’
    The 28-year-old would have been handed a standard four-year ban for tampering with the anti-doping process.
    However it was reduced by 12 months because she later admitted to faking the evidence.
    Jepkosgei, the holder of Kenya’s 1000m record, hasn’t competed since 2019.

    That was when she won the 800m in the Rabat and Lausanne rounds of the Diamond League.
    She was in the process of switching citizenship from Kenya to Bahrain.
    Jepkosgei was due to be eligible to represent her new country in August before the announcement of her ban this month. More

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    Sprint star Yohan Blake says he’d rather miss Tokyo Olympics than have the coronavirus vaccine

    SPRINT star Yohan Blake has claimed he would rather miss the Tokyo Olympics than have the coronavirus vaccine.
    Blake made the shock comments as preparations continue for this summer’s rescheduled games.

    Yohan Blake is prepared to miss out on the Tokyo OlympicsCredit: EPA

    The 31-year-old athlete told the Jamaican Gleaner: “My mind still stays strong, I don’t want the vaccine.
    “I would rather miss the Olympics than take the vaccine.
    “I am happy. I don’t want to get into it right now, but I have my reasons.”
    The Jamaican sprinter won the silver medal in the 100m and 200m at the London 2012 Olympics.

    Blake was also part of Jamaica’s gold-winning 100m relay team in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
    It is currently mandatory for athletes to have the vaccine to compete at the Olympics.
    A range of measures have been put in place to avoid the spread of Covid-19 at this summer’s Olympics.

    Sex, singing, hugging, chanting, hugging and hi-fiving will be banned from the games.

    Anyone flouting the health and safety rules will be thrown out with strict guidelines in place due to the pandemic.
    Athletes are waiting to hear about their stay in the Olympic and Paralympic village but have already been told post-event partying and sight-seeing will not be permitted.

    Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori resigns less than six months before virus-postponed Games after sexist comments More