Tokyo to ‘screen off’ bacteria for Olympic swimming in bay

Tokyo bay
AP
0 Comments

TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo Olympic organizers said Friday that a system of layered screens would be used to keep bacteria levels within “agreed limits” for triathlon and marathon swimming in heavily trafficked Tokyo Bay.

Organizers acknowledged a year ago that levels of E. Coli were up to 20 times above acceptable levels set by international sports federations, and fecal coliform bacteria were seven times over the limit.

Hidemasa Nakamura, executive director of sports and games delivery, said a triple-layer screen of polyester fiber was tested in July and August on dates corresponding to the Olympics and Paralympics in two years.

“The triple-layer screen was proven effective in controlling E. coli bacteria and other bacteria,” Nakamura said through an interpreter.

He said the international federations that govern marathon swimming and triathlon had seen the test results.

“They agreed the test results were quite favorable,” Nakamura said.

Plans would seem to call for the screens to encircle the area for marathon swimming and triathlon.

The Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 were plagued with severe water pollution, from rowing events to open-water swimming to sailing.

Tokyo’s challenge for the 2020 Games seems smaller. But a core problem in both places stems from holding outdoor water events in the heart of the city rather in cleaner waters away from the urban area.

In Rio de Janeiro, television rights holders pushed for sailing to be held in heavily polluted Guanabara Bay, partly because of the picturesque backdrop and appealing camera angles.

Nakamura said something similar in explaining why the Odaiba Marine Park, in the heart of Tokyo Bay, was chosen.

“I think it’s very important for us to hold this event in the middle of Tokyo with the ocean water and the skyscrapers and the urban background of Tokyo,” Nakamura said. “That will show how Tokyo is a city where we have the modern structures and well as the ocean.”

The Odaiba Marine Park sits at the foot of Tokyo’s famous Rainbow Bridge. A half dozen signs around the small beach say “No Swimming” allowed. On a recent day, one small child was wading in shallow water, but no one else ventured into the sea along the 200-meter (yard) stretch of beach.

However, over the summer the public was allowed to swim for about a week under a program called “Odaiba Plage” — a takeoff on Paris. The park for decades has held many national open-water swimming competitions.

Nakamura said the no-swimming signs were there because life guards are not on duty, and not because of water pollution.

“Some kind of underwater screens would be used during the Olympics and Paralympics,” he said, noting the exact configurations could change as the city and organizers experimented.

Dangerous water-borne viruses were a large concern in Rio, but Tokyo organizers indicated that sports federations seemed concerned only with monitoring bacteria.

Nakamura and an official from the Tokyo city government said they were confident the screens would keep athletes healthy.

Some rowers and sailors got ill in Rio, but it was often difficult to link the dirty water to the outbreaks. Local sailors seemed to build up immunity to the dirty water.

“We will continue to work with the IOC and the international federations on this point,” Nakamura said. “We will continue to work to ensure the safety of the athletes against bacteria.”

MORE: Tokyo Olympics to use facial recognition system

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
Getty
0 Comments

Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in winning the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:09 to lower the previous record time of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.

Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, earned his 15th win in 17 career marathons to bolster his claim as the greatest runner in history over 26.2 miles.

His pacing was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed in the final miles, running 61:18 for the second half after going out in an unprecedented 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over Kenyan Mark Korir.

“I was planning to go through it [the halfway mark] 60:50, 60:40,” Kipchoge said. “My legs were running actually very fast. I thought, let me just try to run two hours flat, but all in all, I am happy with the performance.

“We went too fast [in the first half]. It takes energy from the muscles. … There’s still more in my legs [to possibly lower the record again].”

MORE: Berlin Marathon Results

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in history for somebody who ran one prior marathon in 2:34:01. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) have gone faster.

American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered as the top seed, was sixth in 2:21:48. D’Amato, who went nearly a decade between competitive races after college, owns the American record of 2:19:12 and now also the 10th-best time in U.S. history.

“Today wasn’t my best day ever, but it was the best I could do today,” she said in a text message, according to Race Results Weekly, adding that she briefly stopped and walked late in the race.

The last eight instances the men’s marathon world record has been broken, it has come on the pancake-flat roads of Berlin. It began in 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.

The world record was 2:02:57 — set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 — until Kipchoge broke it for the first time four years ago. The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to cover 26.2 miles in under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.

Kipchoge’s focus going forward is trying to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He’s checked off four of them, only missing Boston (run in April) and New York City (run every November).

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
Getty
0 Comments

The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final