Olympiad 2021: Tokyo awaits storm that should affect schedule

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The weather patterns of Japan’s hot, wet and unstable summer have been a persistent concern since before the games.

The city of Tokyo, which receives the Olympics, is getting ready to face a storm which is already starting to disrupt the schedule of competitions this week, although surfers are hoping the weather change will be favourable.

Japan’s hot, wet and unstable summer weather patterns have been a persistent concern since before the Games, which are already being held under Covid-19’s state of emergency a year after the pandemic delayed the big event on the sports calendar.

So far, tropical storm Nepartak does not appear to pose a threat of devastation to the nation’s capital. In fact, it is predicted to weaken by the time it reaches Tokyo around Tuesday.

But rain and wind are expected to come after the intense heat, which has already caused the collapse of an Olympic archer and had skaters complaining about unbearable conditions at 9 am.

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The sweltering heat of Tokyo in July, when high temperatures of around 35 degrees C are combined with sauna-like humidity, prompted organizers to move the marathon north to Hokkaido.

The storm heading for Japan’s east coast could increase sewage levels in Tokyo Bay for water sports — if heavy rains overwhelm Tokyo city’s century-old drainage system. Dangerous levels of the E. coli bacteria forced the cancellation, two years ago, of a Paralympic triathlon in the waters of the bay.

The rowing schedule for next Tuesday was suspended, with races rescheduled for the end of the week. Monday’s rowing events had already been moved to Sunday, anticipating the storm’s arrival.

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