Olympics 2020

Tokyo bans spectators amid COVID-19 emergency

The move marked a sharp turnaround from as recently as last week, when some officials were still insisting they could organise the Games safely with some fans.

It all but strips the global sporting showpiece, which is due to start on 23 July and run until 8 August, of its last vestiges of pomp and public spectacle.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said it was essential to prevent Tokyo, where the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 variant was spreading, from becoming a flashpoint of new infections.

Tonga Taekwondo makes history

Pita Taufatofua defeated PNG's Steven Tommy 20-4 in the men's over 80kg division to qualify for his third Olympic Games and will be joined in Japan by Malia Paseka, 20, after the Pacific Games bronze medallist qualified automatically in the women's 67kg division.

"I'm feeling very relieved but also very happy that now Tonga is qualified for the Olympics...you know I just wanted to make sure that Tonga was represented at the Olympics and we can tick that box now," Taufatofua said.

Tonga's Taufatofua aiming to participate in third Olympic sport at Tokyo 2020

 Taufatofua represented his country in taekwondo at Rio 2016 and also featured in cross-country skiing at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games. 

He went viral as Tonga's flag bearer in Rio, having completed the task shirtless and oiled, and now appears keen to compete in Tokyo in an aquatics event.

"I will, hopefully, be the first male in history to do three completely different Olympic sports in three different arenas," he told Radio New Zealand, as reported by NZ Herald.