The Tokyo Olympics continues to face challenges - now a tropical storm is threatening to disrupt events. Tropical storm Nepartak is heading to Japan and expected to hit the northeast by Tuesday evening.
First the pandemic, then the sun and now a typhoon is threatening to disrupt some parts of the international multisport event.
The 2020 Summer Olympics - branded as Tokyo 2020 - had already been delayed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The extended health crisis even threatened its cancellation after its host country saw a reemergence of new Covid-19 cases.
Despite a public outcry to cancel the Olympics because of health concerns, Japan still decided to push through with hosting the event. The Games kicked off July 23 under an oppressive heatwave, which included regular daytime highs of more than 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Olympics on alert as Tropical Storm Nepartak heads for Japan https://t.co/nZB1l7bu6n — ABC SPORT (@abcsport) July 27, 2021
Event organizers assured participants that the weather is just a mid-grade tropical storm and it shouldn't cause any serious problems. Surfers competing at Tsurigasaki beach said the storm could actually improve the competition as long as it doesn't directly hit the event areas.
Other competitors weren't so optimistic about performing in the middle of a tropical storm.
"I am a bit concerned about that. I saw the surfers and they were all excited about the weather, which isn't ideal for us," Australian canoeist Jessica Fox, the gold medal favorite in the kayak slalom, said.
Despite the assurances, organizers still decided to adjust some schedules - including archery, rowing and sailing events set for Tuesday.
"It is a tropical storm of three grade out of five, so you shouldn't be too much worried about that, but it is a typhoon in Japan interpretation. This is the weakest category, but this is still a typhoon so we should not be too optimistic about the impact of the course," Tokyo Games representative, Masa Takaya, said.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said tropical storm Nepartak could bring strong winds and rainfall of up to 5.9 inches. The heavy rain is of particular concern to some competitors as it could affect their performance.
"Feels like we're trying to prepare for bloody everything," New Zealand rugby sevens player Andrew Knewstubb said.