It’s Saturday July 31 in Tokyo. There are eight days left at the Olympics and this weekend is packed with events. Here is what is happening in the Japanese capital, both in the world of sport and in its periphery.
The surprising success of Japan: We are one week away from the Tokyo Olympics and Japan already has 17 gold medals, a new record for the country. Only China, with 19, has more.
These victories have helped to stir up enthusiasm in Tokyo. Ahead of the Games, polls showed a majority of residents disapproved of the government’s decision to go ahead with a major sporting event amid a coronavirus-related state of emergency. But TV ratings in Japan show people are tipping in to watch, and there is excitement in the air. In the streets of Tokyo, many try to revel in their country’s success while respecting the public health measures put in place by the government.
The pandemic is looming: Japan’s sporting success doesn’t mean all is well in the capital. Covid-19 cases continue to rise, with authorities saying Friday they identified 3,300 other infections. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga extended the state of emergency for the Tokyo metropolitan area and Okinawa, and extended the state of emergency to four other prefectures – Saitama, Chiba, Osaka and Kanagawa – until August 31.
The Japanese Medical Association, the country’s largest medical association, warns that unless more is done to stop the spread of Covid-19, the country’s medical system could “collapse”.
“We must take all measures to prevent the explosion of infection and the medical system is under strain,” Toshio Nakagawa, head of the association, added Thursday.
A busy start to the weekend: Saturday started with Britain’s gold medal in the first-ever Olympic mixed team triathlon relay.
The penultimate day of swimming began shortly after, with American star Caeleb Dressel winning the men’s 100-meter butterfly. Her compatriot Katie Ledecky won the 800-meter freestyle, her last event of the Olympics. It was her second gold medal and her last event for Tokyo 2020. The Briton won the last event of the day, the mixed 4×100-meter medley relay.
Other major events to watch out for:
- It’s a big day for tennis. World number one Novak Djokovic will play for bronze in men’s singles after his shocking semi-final loss to Germany’s Alexander Zverev. The women’s gold medal match will take place later today, with Czech Marketa Vondrousova taking on Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic. It all ends with an interesting match in the mixed doubles bronze medal match, in which the No.1 men and women – Ashleigh Barty of Australia and Djokovic of Serbia – take the field against each other . Barty plays with John Peers and Djokovic with Nina Stojanovic.
- The women’s rugby gold medal match takes place at 6 p.m. Tokyo time. Matches throughout the day will determine who will play for the top prize.
- The men’s discus, mixed 4×400-meter relay and women’s 100-meter finals take place tonight.
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