Olympic athletes fear domino effect as pole vaulters test positive for Covid

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Two track and field pole vault stars, including the US world champion Sam Kendricks, have tested positive for Covid-19 in the Olympic Village, raising concerns of a potential domino effect among athletes.

Kendricks’ father, Scott, broke the news on his Instagram page that his son had become the most high-profile star to test positive in the village. Shortly afterwards another pole vaulter, the Argentinian Germán Chiaraviglio, has revealed he was also out of the Games following a positive test.

The news sent shockwaves through the village, with all 63 of Australia’s track and field team immediately confined to their rooms. Later it was announced that they had all been cleared. No Team GB athletes are understood to be affected.

Last week all teams were warned that anyone testing positive would have to self-isolate for 14 days in a quarantine facility just outside the village before flying home.

Writing on his Instagram account, his father, Scott, said: “He feels fine and has no symptoms. Love you son. See you soon.”

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The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee later confirmed that Kendricks, who was due to compete in the pole vault qualifying competition on Saturday, would miss the Games.

“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 USA Track and Field and USOPC staff,” it added. “Sam is an incredible and accomplished member of Team USA and his presence will be missed.”

Shortly afterwards Chiaraviglio, the South American champion, also confirmed that he was out of the Games too due to Covid.

“It is very hard to process something like that, it will surely take me a long time,” he wrote on his Instagram page. “We knew this Olympic game was different and with different rules, and here I am, it’s my turn.

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“I am isolated in a hotel where I will spend several days, and where the main objective is to take care of my health. I thank the people who were and are close and all those who sent me their message of love and affection. Living this is very difficult, but it will also pass.”

Organisers confirmed there had been 24 more positive tests for Covid-19 among people in Japan who are accredited for the Games since 1 July, bringing the total number in that period to 198.

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