Sports

Australian athletics team in lockdown after COVID-19 scare, pole vaulter Kurtis Marschal close contact

By Matt Bungard and Ben Glover

The Australian athletics team have been locked down in the Olympic village, as administrators were left scrambling following a positive test for an American athlete.

World champion US pole vaulter Sam Kendricks had tested positive for COVID-19, and was officially ruled out of the Olympics this afternoon – with Australia’s Kurtis Marschal, also a pole vaulter, reportedly a close contact.

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There is concern Kendricks was training with Marschall.

As a result, the Australian team of 63 were all swiftly brought back to the village where they will be shut off from members of other sports.

“Members of Australia’s track and field team at the Tokyo Olympic Games are isolating in their rooms as a precautionary measure following news of a COVID positive finding with a member of the US track and field team,” a statement released by the Australian Olympic Committee said.

“Members of the Australian track and field team are now undergoing testing procedures in line with Australian Olympic Team protocols.”

The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed Kendricks’ positive result.

“We are saddened to confirm that Sam Kendricks tested positive for COVID-19 and will not compete in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” the USOPC tweeted.

“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 USATF and USOPC staff.”

There’s never a good time for a COVID-19 scare but this one has been horrendously timed for the Australia team, with track and field events starting tomorrow. The pole vault competition is scheduled to start at 10.40am (AEST) on Saturday.

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