Olympics-Cycling-Hundreds defy scorching heat to grab 'last' glimpse of Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Cycling - Road - Women's Road Race - Final - Tokyo to Fuji International Speedway - Tokyo, Japan - July 25, 2021. Riders in action during the Women's Road Race. REUTERS/Matthew Childs

TOKYO (Reuters) - Hundreds of residents braved Japan's scorching summer heat to gather along the streets of the Olympic women's cycling road in Fuchu, on the outskirts of Tokyo, on Sunday, resisting calls to avoid the Games due to the threat of COVID-19 infection.

With the Japanese capital in its fourth COVID-19 state of emergency as infections surge, organisers this month banned spectators from all but a handful of venues and asked the public to stay away from cycling, marathon and other outdoor events.

Ignoring those requests, and those of volunteers bearing signs dissuading people from gathering, residents such as 72-year-old Komuro Masaka said it could be their only chance to see an Olympic event.

"They aren't allowing spectators now, but since Fuchu has this road where we can watch the race from, I thought this may be the last chance I would have in my life to see the Olympics in Tokyo. I’m really looking forward to it," said Masaka, clutching a Japanese national flag.

The race started at 1 p.m. local time (0400 GMT) and spans a total of 137km across the greater Tokyo area, passing near a shrine and shopping centre in Fuchu.

“This was the first Olympic event I’ve ever seen. I was very surprised that it’s so powerful,” 17-year-old high school student Rintaro Saumaro said.

On Saturday, thousands also gathered https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/cycling-road-race-rare-chance-fans-spectatorless-games-2021-07-24 to watch the men's road race.

(Reporting by Joseph Campbell; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In Cycling

Cycling-One hour from glory, Britain's Lowden focused on record
Cycling-France's Alaphilippe retains men's world title in explosive fashion
Amarjit retains post in world body
Cycling-Italy's Balsamo pips Vos to win road race world title
Motorcycling-Fifteen-year-old Vinales dies after Superbike crash in Jerez
Pocket Rocketman to relax and smell the roses
Azizul goes Down Under to become a babysitter
Cycling-Nibali returns to Astana after five years
Cycling-Martin retires with Germany mixed relay title
Shah Firdaus to close 2021 with track cycling world meet in France

Stories You'll Enjoy