Uchimura tests positive before key gym meet

Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura has tested positive for COVID-19 ten days before he was due to take part in an international meet seen as a major test of Tokyo’s capacity to hold events ahead of next year’s Olympics, organizers announced yesterday.

The meet is set to be the first international event to be held at a Tokyo Olympic venue since the Games were postponed in March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers said it was unclear whether Uchimura, who is a three-time Olympic gold medalist, will be pulling out of the November 8 meet that will also feature athletes from China, Russia and the United States. However, the event is still scheduled to be held as planned.

Despite a lengthy recent injury record, 31-year-old Uchimura was set to be the main attraction for the 2,000 fans allowed to watch the event at Yoyogi National Gymnasium.

The president of the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique, Morinari Watanabe, told reporters during an online news conference yesterday that Uchimura was asymptomatic.

“He is in a very stable condition,” Watanabe said, adding that Uchimura was resting in his room at the national training center where the team has been staying for a week and would be monitored for the next six days. He will be re-tested on November 4 and 5 and could still take part if both tests are negative.

Watanabe also said that the event, the Friendship and Solidarity Competition at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, would go ahead even if the Japanese team had to withdraw.

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