Women’s softball kicks off postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The Japanese women’s softball team registered an 8-1 loss to Australia on Wednesday to open the Tokyo Olympics.

The Games, delayed for a year by the pandemic, got off to a quiet start when Japanese pitcher Yukiko Ueno threw the first pitch at Australian striker Michelle Cox at a nearly empty stadium in the northwest city of Fukushima , the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Australia took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Ueno produced one batter and hit the next two, allowing Cox to score. But the host nation rebounded quickly, tying the game in the same set, then scoring two runs in the third and three more in the fourth. The match ended after Yu Yamamoto hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, prompting the referees to invoke the leniency rule.

The Japan-Australia game was the first of three scheduled for Wednesday. The United States defeated Italy 2-0 in Game 2, with Cat Osterman, 38, who won gold with Team USA in 2004 and silver in 2008, striking out nine batters. while allowing only one hit in six innings.

Mexico and Canada were scheduled to play in Game 3 at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.

The first women’s football matches are scheduled for Wednesday in Tokyo.

The Tokyo Olympics are unfolding in a coronavirus-related state of emergency, triggered by rising rates of new COVID-19 infections and low vaccination rates. So far, at least 70 people linked to the Games have tested positive for COVID-19 since the athletes started arriving at the Olympic Village in Tokyo.

Olympic organizers have banned fans from attending any of the events due to the current wave of new infections.

Mexico’s national baseball team has been placed in quarantine in Mexico City after two players tested positive for COVID-19 before their trip to Japan.

Meanwhile, an administrative error forced six members of the Polish swimming team to leave Tokyo and return home. A delegation of 23 swimmers arrived in Tokyo to take part in the games, but the Polish Swimming Federation (PZP) recalled six of them home on Sunday due to an administrative error.

The six swimmers issued a statement calling on the organization-wide board to step down immediately.

PZP director Pawel Slominski issued a statement on Monday expressing “great regret, sadness and bitterness over the situation.”

Some information for this report comes from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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