First 2 Athletes Test Positive for COVID at Olympic Village Ahead of Tokyo Summer Games

Two players on the South African soccer team have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Olympic village, and they aren't alone...

the entrance to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village in Harumi.
Photo: Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

Two athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Tokyo Olympics village.

The South African Olympic committee announced Sunday that two members of the country's football (soccer) team, defender Thabiso Monyane and midfielder Kamohelo Mahlatsi, have tested positive for the Coronavirus inside the Olympic village. A video analyst for the team also returned a positive test.

All three are currently in isolation at the Tokyo 2020 isolation facility, the South African Olympic committee confirmed. The rest of the team had already tested negative twice and remains under quarantine "until cleared to train."

Monyane and Mahlatsi are the first athletes to test positive since entering the Olympic village. The situation has already had a significant impact on South Africa's quest for a medal.

"This unfortunate situation has made us miss our first intensive training session last night,'' team manager Mxolisi Sibam said in a press release Sunday.

A fourth person, South African rugby sevens coach Neil Powell, also tested positive on Saturday, according to South Africa's national rugby body. The 43-year-old is currently located at an isolation facility in the city of Kagoshima where the team was conducting a pre-Games training camp and will miss the rugby sevens competition while isolating the next 14 days.

South Africa's rugby team spokesman JJ Harmse told the AP that Powell had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on May 24.

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Another "non-Japanese" athlete also tested positive on Sunday, but was not residing in the village, according to Olympic organizers. 11,000 athletes and thousands of support staff are expected to stay in the village throughout the Games.

The first case of COVID-19 at the athletes' village was recorded Friday, one week before the upcoming opening ceremony on July 23. Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto told reporters that the infected person was someone involved in organizing the Games, not an athlete.

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"I understand that there are still many worrying factors," Hashimoto said Friday. "Organizers must try to make sure that people will understand that these games are safe and secure."

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Thursday that there was "zero" risk of athletes infecting Japanese residents with the coronavirus.

All spectators have been barred from attending the Summer Games as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Japan. Tokyo announced a state of emergency on July 8 as athletes prepared for their trek to the capital.

Furthermore, all Olympians must wear masks inside the village, even if they are vaccinated.

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