TOKYO (REUTERS) – The Tokyo Olympics organisers held a test event for rugby at Tokyo Stadium on Thursday (April 21), as they look to regain momentum in their preparations for the opening of the Games in three months.

Organisers restarted test events this month after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but several have already been postponed or moved outside Japan because of the disruption the coronavirus has caused to scheduling and international travel.

Water polo and BMX cycling have been delayed, diving has been rescheduled, and artistic and marathon swimming will be held outside the country.

Olympic test events are important dress rehearsals to confirm the operational capabilities of the venues.

Thursday’s rugby event was considered an “operational test” that did not involve official matches, and no international players or spectators were present.

Players from the Japanese national women’s and men’ sevens teams took part in the test event, with the women playing two short matches and the men playing one.

The women, in their final match, simulated a game between Japan and South Africa that involved the two sides standing for the countries’ national anthems.

Tokyo Stadium will be the venue for rugby, which returned to the Olympics at Rio 2016 in the sevens format, from July 26 to 31. The stadium was also the venue for the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

The Summer Olympics, delayed by a year because of the pandemic, are scheduled to open on July 23.


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