By Chris Gallagher and Lucien Libert
SAPPORO, Japan (Reuters) – Spectators got here out to cheer on the runners within the Olympic girls’s marathon on Saturday, ignoring calls by organisers to remain dwelling and keep away from gathering in crowds that would unfold COVID-19.
Native residents gathered close to the end line in Odori Park and different spots alongside the course, waving flags, clapping and taking smartphone movies because the runners handed by.
Tokyo Olympic organisers have banned spectators from most venues because of COVID-19 and have reported a complete of 404 Video games-related coronavirus circumstances since July 1.
However bronze medallist Molly Seidel of the USA appreciated the assist.
“I believe these video games have been fairly unprecedented and it is exhausting for lots of athletes competing when there is no one on the market. With the ability to see that assist of the folks of Sapporo meant lots,” she mentioned.
“And it’s totally thrilling to go down the course and see folks cheering and see folks with the flags out. I might similar to to thank the folks of Sapporo for popping out and supporting us, it actually made this a special occasion.”
Fumiko Nakata, a 57-year-old Sapporo resident, needed to reap the benefits of a uncommon probability to observe the Olympics.
“That is possibly the final time for me. In order that’s why I am right here,” she instructed Reuters.
Tokyo Olympic organisers’ resolution to ban spectators from most venues has been stricter than Japanese skilled sports activities leagues that permit a restricted variety of followers.
However with the marathon run on public streets in Sapporo, on the northern island of Hokkaido, they will solely request that individuals keep away.
Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir gained the Olympic girls’s marathon in Sapporo on Saturday, outduelling compatriot Brigid Kosgei within the remaining minutes and claiming her nation’s second consecutive gold medal within the occasion.
The boys’s occasion will happen on Sunday, the ultimate day of the Tokyo Olympics.
(Reporting by Chris Gallagher and Lucien Libert; Modifying by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)