Tokyo Olympics: Games underway as hosts Japan beat Australia in softball

By Sports Desk July 20, 2021

The Tokyo Olympics officially got underway on Wednesday as hosts Japan defeated Australia 8-1 in softball in Fukushima.

The commencement of softball, which returns to the Olympics for the first time since 2008, precedes Friday's Opening Ceremony for the controversial Tokyo Olympics.

Softball, along with women's football, both begin on Wednesday, with men's football to commence on Thursday.

Australia registered the first run of the Olympics when Michelle Cox touched down on home plate in the first inning but Japan raced away with the win.

Naito Minori hit a two-run home run at the bottom of the third inning to open up a 3-1 lead for Japan. The hosts added three runs in the fourth, aided by a two-run home run to left field from Yamato Fujita, before Yu Yamamoto homered in the fifth.

In the opening day of softball, Italy are also due to play the United States, followed by Mexico and Canada in Fukushima.

The 2020 Games, delayed by a year due to the global health pandemic, will be held mostly without spectators due to a state of emergency being declared in Tokyo.

The number of new coronavirus cases in the Japanese capital topped 1,000 for five days running before dropping to 727 on Monday.

Related items

  • Australian Open: Victorian Premier casts fresh doubt over Djokovic's participation Australian Open: Victorian Premier casts fresh doubt over Djokovic's participation

    Novak Djokovic's participation at the Australian Open has been cast in doubt once again as Victorian premier Daniel Andrews indicated the state that hosts the event will not welcome those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

    Australian minister for immigration Alex Hawke revealed last week Djokovic, who has won a record nine titles at Melbourne Park, could only take part in January's tournament if he has received both jabs.

    But the 20-time grand slam winner, who has declined to reveal his vaccination status, was given hope of competing after prime minister Scott Morrison said there would be exemptions should the state of Victoria – which includes Melbourne – agree.

    However, responding to those comments on Wednesday, Andrews made clear his government would not apply for any sort of dispensation as it would not be fair on the other players and spectators who are fully vaccinated.

    "The federal government manages the border and to the extent that anything the federal government says on this is clear, because their position has gone 180 from what the immigration minister said," Andrews said.

    "What I'm making equally clear on behalf of every vaccinated Victorian who is doing the right thing... the only fair thing to do is to be very clear with every Victorian, my government will not be applying for an exemption for any unvaccinated player."

    Recent reports suggested that over a third of professional players on the ATP Tour remain unvaccinated ahead of the 2022 Australian Open, which runs for two weeks from January 17.

    Andrews added: "I'm not going to ask and actually require people sitting in the grandstand, people working at the event, to be vaccinated while players aren't.

    "So we're not going to be applying for an exemption, so the issue is basically resolved."

    Andrews also stated the same approach will be taken when Formula One returns to Melbourne in April next year.

    Speaking last week, world number one Djokovic – who beat Daniil Medvedev earlier this year to win his latest Australian Open crown – told Serbian newspaper Blic: "Things being as they are, I still don't know if I will go to Melbourne.

    "I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.

    "Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful grand slam tournament. I want to compete, I love this sport and I am still motivated.

    "I am following the situation regarding the Australian Open... I believe there will be a lot of restrictions just like this year, but I doubt there will be too many changes."

  • Nagelsmann warns Kimmich there are 'easier interview topics' after midfielder's COVID-19 vaccination admission Nagelsmann warns Kimmich there are 'easier interview topics' after midfielder's COVID-19 vaccination admission

    Julian Nagelsmann revealed he contacted Joshua Kimmich after the Germany midfielder hit the headlines as he admitted he had not been vaccinated for COVID-19.

    Bayern Munich, who are preparing to face Borussia Monchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal second round, have been without Nagelsmann after the former RB Leipzig head coach tested positive for coronavirus.

    However, it was Kimmich who was the main point of interest after Bayern defeated Hoffenheim 4-0 as the 26-year-old explained he had not been vaccinated because he wanted further research to be conducted first.

    Former Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was quick to assure Kimmich should do the responsible thing and get vaccinated, though Nagelsmann attempted to put an end to the saga at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

    "A lot of topics are often chewed through," Nagelsmann told reporters from his home during his virtual conference. "It is important that there is an exchange of views. Everyone then has to decide for themselves whether they have to give their mustard to everything.

    "There are experts, they should express their opinion. Whether the federal government has to do that now, it has to know for itself. I am happy when everyone can concentrate on their job again."

    Nagelsmann, who has been operating from his homemade "data centre", then revealed he had contacted Kimmich to discuss the interview while admitting it was up to the individual whether they should get vaccinated or not.

    "I wrote to him after the interview," he continued. "I told him that there are certainly easier interview topics. That is the price you pay when you are in public.

    "Enough has been said about it now. I also gave my opinion of what I thought about the vaccination – I now know how the symptoms progress.

    "From this and in exchange with doctors I also noticed that the disease behaves differently after the vaccination. Nevertheless, it is up to you to decide whether he can be vaccinated."

    Nagelsmann will not be fit enough to return for the visit to Gladbach, though he could return against Union Berlin on Saturday.

    His side have won all three games in his absence, dispatching Leverkusen, Benfica and Hoffenheim by an aggregate score of 13-1.

    However, the 34-year-old revealed he finds comments that Bayern do not need a coach in his absence disrespectful, pointing towards the crucial interventions that are sometimes required on the touchline.

    "The team is very good, no question about it," he added.

    "I also have a very well-functioning coaching team. They are a tight-knit bunch, and we know each other very well.

    "But I don't lie around at home and don't work on anything. I think it is sometimes a bit disrespectful when you claim that the team doesn't need a coach. There are always moments when you should intervene."

  • Diaz set for Milan return after testing negative for coronavirus Diaz set for Milan return after testing negative for coronavirus

    Milan playmaker Brahim Diaz is poised for a first-team return after testing negative for coronavirus.

    The Spaniard has missed the last three games for the Rossoneri after contracting COVID-19.

    Diaz, 22, was forced to isolate while Milan secured Serie A wins over Hellas Verona and Bologna either side of a Champions League defeat to Porto.

    Ahead of Milan's clash with Torino on Tuesday, the San Siro club said on their website: "AC Milan announces that Brahim Diaz has tested negative to the COVID-19 swab test."

    Diaz, on loan from Real Madrid, has scored three goals in Serie A this season and provided one assist.

    Stefano Pioli's side will go top of the table if they avoid defeat at home against Torino.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.