Olympics-Swimming-Peaty eager to race but understands health worries over Games

FILE PHOTO: Swimming - 18th FINA World Swimming Championships - Men's 50m Breaststroke Final - Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center, Gwangju, South Korea - July 24, 2019. Adam Peaty of Britain competes. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

(Reuters) - Olympic swimming champion Adam Peaty has said there is no right answer to questions on the Tokyo Games taking place during the COVID-19 crisis but he is among the "biased" athletes who want the event to happen and is taking every precaution to compete.

Postponed for a year due to the pandemic, the July 23-Aug. 8 Games are being held mostly without spectators and under strict quarantine rules. Organisers on Sunday reported three new cases of infection among athletes, up from one new case a day earlier.

The Japanese public has been wary about hosting the Games at all amid a resurgence in new coronavirus infections and worries that an influx of visitors may create a super-spreader event, straining an already-stretched medical system.

"It's a hard question. You do have to think about the people who live here," the 100 metre-breaststroke champion Peaty was quoted as saying by The Guardian when asked if the Olympics should go ahead during a pandemic.

"At the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the athletes who have trained for five years, every single day, getting up at 5am and going to bed at half 10 with a screaming baby. They commit their whole lives to this three-week-long event.

"You're never going to get the right answer... I'm biased because I want them to happen, I want to race. But I can feel for those who don't want the Games to happen at all."

The British swimmer said he had taken both shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"... I've taken every single measure to make sure I'm not going to spread it to anyone if I did have it. I wear double masks. That's all I can do," Peaty said.

"Some athletes are coming out here without any vaccinations. You've got to ask them the same question. Unfortunately, it's not an easy one to answer."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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