Olympics

Australia's softball team the first athletes to arrive in Japan

The team will attend a training camp in the city of Ota before moving to the Athletes' Village in Tokyo on 17 July.

All members of the delegation have been vaccinated against Covid-19 and will be tested for the virus every day.

The Games are scheduled to begin on 23 July despite Japan battling a surge in coronavirus cases.

While in Ota the Australia squad, who all tested negative for the virus upon arrival in the country, will be confined to one floor of their hotel and will only be able to leave the building to train.

Former All Blacks, Wallaby in line to play for Tonga

The Tonga Rugby Union announced last month it would only select players based in Europe for the qualifying tournament in Monaco, because of travel difficulties caused by Covid-19.

Tonga men's sevens coach Tevita Tu'ifua said an initial list of 43 names had been trimmed to 23, which includes two ex All Blacks and a former Wallaby.

"We have got a few (high profile) names pop up and we still need to rank our priorities list and then we work from there to finalise our selection," he said.

Tonga sports body awaits Tokyo Olympics confirmation

TASANOC Secretary General Takitoa Taumoepeau said several sports had their qualifying events cancelled.

So far, only the International Federation for Swimming has approved two universality places for Tonga, for one female and one male swimmer.

“The Tonga Swimming Federation will name and confirm the two swimmers in the coming weeks,” said Takitoa.

Depending on the confirmation of Universality Places for the other sports, Takitoa said Team Tonga is looking at around 8-9 Athletes with 12 Officials.

Laurel Hubbard set to become first transgender Olympic athlete

International weightlifting has rejigged its qualifying criteria for Tokyo because of limited competition over the past year due to Covid-19.

That means on current rankings Hubbard will qualify but she still needs to nominated by Weightlifting New Zealand then be officially selected by the New Zealand Olympic committee.

Japan faces longer state of emergency, casting doubt on Olympics

Officials were leaning toward an extension of the measures in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures beyond 11 May as the country battles a surge in Covid-19 cases, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Wednesday.

Extending the measures, which were imposed on 25 April, would likely fan persistent concerns about whether the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to begin on 23 July, can be held as planned.

The games have already been delayed once from last year due to the pandemic.

Caleb Clarke expected to make decision between Olympics or All Blacks and Blues this week

The Blues will kickstart their Super Rugby Trans-Tasman campaign against the Rebels in Melbourne next Saturday, but whether Clarke partakes in that fixture, or in the competition as a whole, remains to be seen.

Speaking to Stuff last week, the 22-year-old wing said he will spend the coming days deciding whether it’s in his best interests to play the Australian franchises over the next month-and-a-bit, or push for a place in the All Blacks Sevens squad to chase an Olympic gold medal in Japan.

All Blacks star Caleb Clarke could be off-limits for Blues as Olympics beckon

Tony Philp, New Zealand Rugby’s high performance sevens manager, is hoping May is the return date for New Zealand’s men’s and women’s sevens teams’ comeback to the international game.

Neither team have played in an international tournament since the Covid-19 pandemic halted their respective World Series last March.

Clarke is among a small pool of Super Rugby players eyeing an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games in July, but their commitment to Super Rugby Aotearoa means they’re not training under coach Clark Laidlaw with the men’s sevens team for the meantime.

Amini Fonua making a splash in and out of the pool

He's won a bunch of regional medals in the pool and carried the Tongan flag at the 2012 London Games. 

But his impact outside of the pool as a gay athlete is just as significant, becoming a spokesman and advocate for the rainbow community, particularly Pasifika youth.

"I think it's incredibly important to be a role model for the LGBTQ community, the rainbow community, I don't think we really realise how important role models are until we start growing up and thinking back to what we were like when we were younger. 

IOC meets to discuss the future of Tokyo Olympics

With less than six months to go until the troubled Games are due to start, the board will instead tackle questions over the vaccination of athletes, international visitors and the attendance of spectators, and safety regulations among other matters.

The Olympic body, which will meet remotely, nevertheless finds itself in a similar situation to March last year, when it was forced to postpone the Games by 12 months as the Covid-19 pandemic shut down sport worldwide.

London 2012 chief feels Tokyo Olympics unlikely to go ahead

Keith Mills told BBC radio that the delayed Olympics, scheduled for July-August, were looking unlikely to happen in his opinion due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"If I was sitting in the shoes of the organising committee in Tokyo, and thankfully I'm not, I would be making plans for a cancellation," he said.

"I'm sure they have plans for a cancellation but I think they will leave it to absolutely the last minute in case the situation improves dramatically and in case the vaccines roll out faster.

"It's a tough call and I wouldn't like to be in their shoes."