Olympics

Football Ferns face tough task at Tokyo Olympics after Australia loss

Both Australia's goals came in the first half, with New Zealand scoring in injury time at the end of the second half through debutant Gabi Rennie, who headed the ball into the net just minutes after coming on as a replacement.

The Football Ferns were one of four teams, including the US, Sweden and Great Britain, that took a knee before their game as a part of the global call for greater racial equality.

New Zealand also have the world champion United States and Sweden in their group, with the World No.5 Swedes stunning the the US 3-0 in their match last night.

Olympics: 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.

Olympic organisers tell public to stay away from marathon and race walk events

The two events take place in Sapporo, which still has emergency Covid measures in place.

Organisers said "to reduce the risk of infection" they would restrict "the movement of members of the public".

The Games, delayed a year because of the pandemic, start on 23 July.

Event organisers said they had met police and local government officials to discuss arrangements for the race walk events, which take place on 6 August, and the women's and men's marathons, which take place over the following two days.

Australia Sevens team given Olympic wake-up call

Australia started strong in their final hit-out against New Zealand, but endured an ill-disciplined slide late in the game to allow the Kiwis to run away with victory 17-5 in Townsville on Sunday.

Their last scheduled game of the three-day tournament against an Oceania selection was called off to prevent the risk of injuries just weeks out from the Olympics

Australia coach Tim Walsh said despite the results there was plenty gained for the event.

“You’re never losing, you’re learning,” he told AAP.

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.

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.

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.