Athletes from around the world have begun to arrive in Tokyo ahead of the Olympic Games finally getting underway this week.
A year later than planned, the Games commence on Wednesday as the women’s softball and football competitions get underway before the official Opening Ceremony on Friday.
The Olympic village is generally a buzzing hive of activity – both inside and outside of the rooms – but it will be somewhat different in Tokyo amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Events will take place without spectators present, and the Covid-secure protocols also stretch to where the athletes will be staying.
Competitors will sleep on so-called ‘anti-sex’ single beds with Tokyo officials urging stars not to romp – but 160,000 condoms have been distributed to be on the safe side.
The beds are made from cardboard and are fully recyclable, and it had been said that they could even collapse if athletes attempted to have sex in them.
But Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan has taken to Twitter to debunk the theory.
He posted a video of himself jumping up and down on the bed with no sign of any damage, declaring: “Apparently they’re meant to break at any sudden movements. It’s fake news.”
The Olympic Village at Rio in 2016 proved itself a Tinder hotspot with matches rocketing 129% in the area during the Games.
Decoration is kept to a minimum within the Covid-secure bubble, while tenants will be ordered to eat alone in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.
The main dining hall has regular hand sanitising stations placed throughout while multi-coloured chairs add some life to a somewhat sterile environment.
Two South African footballers have become the first athletes to test positive for coronavirus, while six competitors and two staff members from Team GB’s athletics team are self-isolating after being deemed close contacts of an individual that test positive after their arrival to Tokyo.
Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi were confirmed by the South Africa FA as their positive cases, while video analyst Mario Masha also tested positive.
Twenty-one other players and officials have been deemed close contacts and are self-isolating.
They are confined to their rooms at the Olympic village with all their meals delivered to their door. They must also undergo daily PCR testing.
“We have three positive cases of Covid-19 in the camp here, two players and an official,” said South Africa team manager Mxolisi Sibam.
“There is daily screening which included taking temperature and saliva testing.
“Masha and Monyane reported high temperatures and positive saliva tests and were then taken to do the nasal test, which we all had initially taken – and they unfortunately tested positive for Covid through that test. Mahlatsi is the latest player to go through the same process.”
The British Olympic Assocation confirmed their eight close contacts in a statement, but said the individual that had tested positive was not part of the Team GB delegation in Tokyo.
“This is disappointing news for the athletes and staff, but we absolutely respect the protocols in place,” said Team GB chef de mission Mark England.
“We will offer them every support during this period and we are hopeful that they will be able resume training again soon.”
Taylor Campbell, who will compete for Team GB in the hammer throw, insisted these cases will be “unavoidable” throughout the Olympics.
He tweeted: “I’m on a flight now with GB members and instead of putting us together at the back of the flight we are mixed among the public.
“We asked at the desk to be moved next to other team members onto empty rows but weren’t allowed to change our seat. We have trained hard to get in this position to now risk it all on something out of our control.”
Games chief Seiko Hashimoto said: “Athletes who are coming to Japan are probably very worried. I understand that.
“We are doing everything to prevent any Covid outbreaks. If we end up with an outbreak we will make sure we have a plan in place to respond.”