The Mexican national baseball team is in quarantine after two players tested positive for coronavirus ahead of traveling to Japan for the Tokyo Olympics, Mexican baseball federation officials announced.
Hector Velazquez and Sammy Solis, both of whom are 32-year-old pitchers, were tested on Sunday in Mexico City as the team gathered to begin practice and were asymptomatic and isolating in their hotel rooms, the federation said in a statement. As a result, national federation officials said practice on Monday was canceled and the rest of the team was quarantining in its hotel pending results from further testing.
Over the weekend, players and coaches reported to Mexico City and had begun training ahead of their departure to Japan. Mexico’s first game in the Olympics is scheduled for July 30, against the Dominican Republic, at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. Solis and Velazquez — both former Major League Baseball players — play for the same team in Mexico’s top professional league.
“Honored and excited to announce that I will be representing #TeamMexico at the Olympics in #Tokyo2020!!!!,” Solis said earlier this month, when the Mexican team was announced. “Being named an Olympian is a lifelong dream! Time to chase that.”
The news was a blow for fifth-ranked Mexico, which had qualified for the first time for the Olympics in baseball, a sport making its return to the Summer Games after a 13-year hiatus.
With games beginning on Wednesday and the opening ceremony on Friday, nearly 60 people connected to the Tokyo Games, from athletes within the Olympic Village to Japanese residents working at the events, have tested positive. Organizers are struggling to manage public anxiety as many thousands more athletes, coaches and other officials arrive in Japan for the Games.
The Mexican baseball team was the latest Olympic team to be disrupted by the virus. The United States’ men’s basketball, women’s 3×3 basketball and the women’s gymnastics teams have had to reshuffle their rosters after athletes either tested positive or entered virus health and safety protocols.
NBC will show more than 7,000 hours of coverage of the Tokyo Olympics across its platforms, including NBC stations, cable channels, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app.
The opening ceremony for the Olympics is scheduled for Friday night in Tokyo. But the 13-hour time difference with Tokyo means it will be Friday morning in the United States.
NBC will have a live morning broadcast of the ceremony, starting at 6:55 a.m. Eastern time. Savannah Guthrie, the anchor for “Today,” and NBC Sports’s Mike Tirico will host the ceremony.
Afterward, NBC will also broadcast a special edition of “Today” that includes athlete interviews, followed by an Olympic daytime show.
Similar to years past, the network will air a packaged prime time version of the ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on Friday. Coverage will also be replayed again overnight for viewers who missed earlier broadcasts.
Though the opening ceremony is Friday, the first competitions begin on Wednesday in Japan.
Softball, which is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 2008, kicks off the events with a match between Japan and Australia at 8 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday. (The game begins in Japan on Wednesday at 9 a.m. Japan Standard Time.) The U.S. softball team will also play ahead of the opening ceremony, facing Italy at 11 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday. Both games will air on NBC Sports.
Another match taking place before the opening ceremony is the U.S. women’s soccer game against Sweden, which will be broadcast live on NBC Sports at 4:30 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday.
In addition to NBC Sports, Olympic events will be shown on the Golf Channel, NBC Olympics, NBC Sports Network, Telemundo and USA Network. Events will also be streamed on NBCOlympics.com, NBCSports.com and Peacock, the network’s streaming platform.
After the opening ceremony, the Tokyo Games will stretch across 16 days, culminating in the closing ceremony on Aug. 8.
TOKYO — Six Polish swimmers were sent home from the Olympics this week after the country’s swimming federation arrived in Japan with too many competitors.
Poland originally selected 23 swimmers for the Tokyo Games but had to trim its list to 17 based on world swimming’s qualifying rules.
One of the swimmers, Alicja Tchorz, who competed at the 2012 and 2016 Games, expressed outrage at the fiasco and at the federation’s leadership in a Facebook post.
“Imagine dedicating 5 years of your life and striving for another start at the most important sporting event,” she wrote, “giving up your private life and work, sacrificing your family, etc.”
Her frustrations were amplified, she said, upon learning “6 days before the grand finale, it turns out that you were denied your dreams because of the incompetence of third parties.”
A video shared on social media by a Polish journalist showed the swimmers who had been ordered home sharing hugs and saying goodbye to other members of the Polish delegation before their departure on Sunday.
The other swimmers informed they could not compete were identified in news reports and social media posts as Bartosz Piszczorowicz, Aleksandra Polanska, Mateusz Chowaniec, Dominika Kossakowska and Jan Holub.
In a lengthy statement explaining the error, the president of Poland’s swimming federation, Pawel Slominski, expressed regret for the mistake but also attempted to assign some of the blame to swimming’s qualifying rules and to Poland’s Olympic committee.
“I express great regret, sadness and bitterness about the situation,” Slominski said in the statement. “Such a situation should not take place, and the reaction of the swimmers, their emotions, the attack on the Polish Swimming Federation is understandable to me and justified.”
On Instagram, Chowaniec railed against “the incompetent people” leading the swimming federation.
“I am deeply shocked by what happened and this is an absurd situation for me that should never have happened,” he wrote. “In fact, I hope to wake up from this NIGHTMARE eventually!”
TOKYO — A man identifying himself as the Ugandan weight lifter who went missing last week after he left his hotel room at a training camp in Osaka prefecture in Japan has been found by the police in a town about 100 miles away. A statement from the Ugandan government said that the man is the missing athlete.
The man, identified as Julius Ssekitoleko, 20, the weight lifter who did not make his country’s Olympic squad and was originally scheduled to fly home to Uganda on Tuesday, was found at the home of an acquaintance in Yokkaichi City, in Mie prefecture, carrying identification.
Mr. Ssekitoleko was discovered missing from his hotel room Friday after he failed to appear for a daily coronavirus test in Izumisano. He left a note saying he wished to work in Japan. Police have been searching for him ever since.
Naoki Fukuyama, an official at the Osaka prefectural police department, said the police were consulting with the Ugandan embassy on where to deliver him. The other eight teammates who were also training in Izumisano moved to the Olympic Village on Monday.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the Ugandan Embassy in Tokyo said it was working with Japanese authorities to enable Mr. Ssekitoleko’s “safe and secure” return to Uganda as early as Wednesday.
“Any issues to do with alleged absconding from the duty he had been flown to perform in Japan and related disappearance from the training camp, will be handled appropriately on his return to Uganda,” the statement said.
In Kampala, Okello Oryem, a junior minister in Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, called Mr. Ssekitoleko a “traitor.”
“This behavior and act is treacherous,” Mr. Oryem told reporters after meeting with the Japanese ambassador in Kampala.
According to Mr. Fukuyama, the police had tracked Mr. Ssekitoleko on a surveillance camera taking a bullet train from Osaka to Nagoya, where he met another man and traveled to Gifu in central Japan.
Police officers visited that man’s house, where he told them that Mr. Ssekitoleko had moved to another home in Yokkaichi, where police found him on Tuesday afternoon.
“He may be a hero in his country, but he felt it was difficult to return to the country as he learned he can’t compete in the Games,” Mr. Fukuyama said. “He must have hoped to win and bring the gold medal back to his country. I feel sorry for him. I felt relieved he was found and want to hand him over as soon as possible as many citizens are worrying.”
Last month, a coach and an athlete with the Ugandan Olympic delegation tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in Japan. It was not clear if Mr. Ssekitoleko was one of them.
“He is not a criminal,” Mr. Fukuyama said. “Even though he has violated the Olympic rules, he has no problem doing anything as his visa is valid.”
Musinguzi Blanshe contributed reporting from Kampala, Uganda.
Shortly before the start of a recent exhibition game, the members of Israel’s national baseball team assembled along the third-base line at Maimonides Park in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn and replaced their baseball caps with skullcaps in preparation for the singing of the Israeli national anthem.
But only a few players knew enough Hebrew to sing along.
The team, currently on tour in New York, has only four players who are native to the country. The rest of the 24-player roster mostly consists of American players whose Jewish roots allow them under Olympic rules to play for the team. It’s also a ragtag assemblage of retired major leaguers, current minor leaguers and even some weekend warriors with day jobs.
Four years ago, the team was ranked 48th in the world, but it shocked the baseball world by qualifying for the World Baseball Classic, making it into the tournament’s second round. In 2019, it continued its surprising run by qualifying for the Olympics.
Team Israel will compete in Tokyo against five other qualifying countries: the U.S., Japan, the Dominican Republic, South Korea and Mexico.
At Maimonides Park on July 11, some fans waved Israeli flags. Others wore hats and shirts bearing the Star of David. One fan wore a T-shirt showing a rabbi slugging a baseball along with the words “Jew Crew,” a reference to the national team, which was wearing crisp blue uniforms also featuring the Star of David.
The squad probably has more fans in New York than in Israel, said Peter Kurz, the team’s general manager.
Brandon Lakind and his friend Cameron Johnson, high school students from Randolph, N.J., said they had been following the team.
“It’s crazy to see that they made the top six teams in the world,” Brandon said. “That alone is pretty cool.”
Olivia Breen, a two-time Paralympic world champion for Britain, said she was “speechless” and “gobsmacked” when an official at the English Championships told her on Sunday that her competition bottoms were “too short” and “inappropriate” after she competed in a long jump event.
In a tweet afterward, Breen wrote that she had been wearing these types of shorts, designed for competition, for years and hoped to wear similar ones when she competes in the Paralympics in Tokyo next month.
After the episode, Breen questioned whether male athletes would be subjected to the same scrutiny, joining an array of female athletes speaking out against uniform double standards that can result in fines against women.
Breen said that it was extremely hot on Sunday and that many male long jump athletes took off their shirts but were not approached by any officials. But after her event, when Breen was chatting with a teammate, she said an official asked to speak with her.
“She was just like, ‘I think your briefs are too revealing, and I think you should consider buying a new pair of shorts,’” Breen said. “My first response was, ‘Are you joking?’”
Breen, 24, has cerebral palsy, hearing loss and some learning difficulties. She has won gold twice at the I.P.C. World Championships — in the T38 long jump in 2017 and the T35-38 100-meter sprint relay in 2015 — and bronze in the 4×100-meter relay in the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Breen said lightweight briefs — in this case, Adidas official competition 2021 briefs, which she later posted a photo of online — gave her an advantage. The bottoms complied with regulations, she said, adding that she filed a formal complaint to England Athletics, the organization running the competition.
Since posting about the episode, Breen said she had heard from other female athletes who have had similar experiences and said she thought women had a right to feel comfortable while competing.
“It just made me so angry,” Breen said. “We shouldn’t be told what we can wear and what we can’t wear.”
England Athletics said in a statement that it would investigate the matter.
“The well-being of all participants in athletics is of the utmost importance, and everyone should feel comfortable to compete and participate in the sport,” the statement said.