Tokyo organisers to hold talks with FINA this week

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Tokyo 2020 organisers plan to hold discussions with the International Swimming Federation (FINA) this week, a senior official said, after the federation said it was reviewing whether to hold the Olympics diving qualification event scheduled for this month.

“We are aware that they intend to cancel. On the other hand, we are still trying to confirm the details and we need to have further discussions with them,” Yasuo Mori, deputy executive director for the Tokyo 2020 Games Operations Bureau, said on Sunday.

“We want to hold talks with them about such details,” he told an online briefing after a weekend test event for wheelchair rugby.

A cancellation would be a setback for Tokyo organisers after they just restarted test events for the first time in over a year and need to test COVID-19 countermeasures for participants at venues.

Media reports said FINA had decided to cancel the April 18-23 final qualification round, which is also an official test event for the Games, which were postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BBC, citing a letter from FINA to national federations, said the event was cancelled because the organisers’ planned COVID-19 precautions “will not properly ensure” the safety of athletes.

FINA said it would make an announcement in the coming week.

Adding to organisers’ headaches, Osaka, part of Japan’s second-biggest metropolis, wants to cancel its leg of the torch relay on April 14 because of a resurgence in coronavirus cases there.

Mori said FINA and the national federations would ultimately decide on the diving qualifiers but that Tokyo organisers are still placing great importance on the test events as they prepare for the Games to open on July 23.

“Regardless of the format, we would still like to carry out some kind of test event. So with that intent we would like to continue to coordinate with them,” Mori said.

(Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by William Mallard)

TOKYO (Reuters)

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