Sixty members of Australia’s athletics team are clear to compete in Tokyo, with three Australian close contacts of an American athlete who tested positive for COVID-19 subsequently returning negative results.
All 63 Australian track and field athletes were asked to immediately return to their rooms to isolate, after news that American pole vaulting champion Sam Kendricks tested positive for COVID-19. Australian pole vaulter Kurtis Marschall was one of three Australian athletes confirmed as close contacts of Kendricks, with Marschall and Kendricks having trained together in recent days.
Australian pole vaulter Kurtis Marschall has been confirmed as a close contact. Credit:Getty Images
Marschall, who was the pole vault gold medallist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and two other members immediately had COVID-19 tests. They have subsequently tested negative.
“Members of Australia’s track and field team at the Tokyo Olympic Games are isolating in their rooms as a precautionary measure following news of a COVID positive finding with a member of the US track and field team,” the Australian Olympic Committee said in a statement on Thursday.
“Members of the Australian track and field team are now undergoing testing procedures in line with Australian Olympic team protocols.”
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed Kendricks’ positive result.
“We are saddened to confirm that Sam Kendricks tested positive for COVID-19 and will not compete in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” the USOPC tweeted.
“In alignment with local rules and protocols, he has been transferred to a hotel to be placed in isolation and is being supported by the USATF and USOPC staff.”
Kendricks’ dad and co-coach Scott took to social media to provide an update on his son’s condition.
“Today in Tokyo, officials informed Sam that his daily test for COVID-19 was positive,” he wrote.
“So he is out of the competition. He feels fine and has no symptoms. Love you son. See you soon.”
The pole vaulting begins at 10.40am (AEST) on Saturday. It is unclear whether Marschall and the two other Australian close contacts will be able to compete. The athletics programs begins on Friday.
An Argentinian pole vaulter has also tested positive to COVID and is out of the Games.
Pole vaulter German Chiaraviglio confirmed on social media that his Games were over after returning a positive test. Oddly, he said he returned a positive saliva sample three days in a row but a PCR swab test came back negative each time.
Then on the fourth day, the swab also came back positive and he knew his Games were finished before they had started.
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