What once seemed unthinkable has become reality with athletes at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics set to compete in empty stadiums.
The Games organisers made the announcement that all spectators would now be banned after Japan declared a state of emergency for Tokyo following a surge in Covid cases.
It has been a series of disappointments for sports fans, with organsiers first banning overseas fans, and then capping local spectator numbers at 5,000 or half of a venue’s capacity.
It is a final blow for the Games, which kicks of the Olympic Torch relay tomorrow. Normally a jubilant event, the relay has already been banned from public roads over coronavirus fears.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach arrived in Tokyo yesterday but avoided commenting on the news, instead heading straight to his hotel for a three-day quarantine.
Japan is fearful of the spread of the Delta variant and has been lagging in its vaccination rollout with only 12 per cent of its population fully vaccinated so far.