Tokyo Olympics: Fans defy warnings from Games organisers by lining the streets to cheer on road race riders

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Japanese fans have lined the streets to support riders in the Men’s Road Race on day one of the Olympics.

Tokyo 2020 organisers had asked people not to gather along the 145-mile route but locals turned out in big numbers to cheer on the competitors and wave flags.

The ban on spectators at almost all venues due to COVID-19 concerns means there are very few events that will be publicly accessible at Tokyo 2020.

Team GB riders Geraint Thomas, Tao Geoghegan Hart and twins Adam and Simon Yates were among more than 130 riders who tackled the course that skirts around the iconic Mount Fuji outside Tokyo.

Thomas and Geoghegan had to make a quick recovery after an early crash at around 70km. Thomas was seen riding with cuts to his arm and shoulder as the pair re-joined the race, but he later pulled out with 60km to go.

German rider Simon Geschke had already been forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID just 24 hours before the race.

He said on social media: “It’s a dark day in my career, but I will be back soon later this year hopefully.”

Elsewhere Seonaid McIntosh from Edinburgh missed out on a place in the final of the women’s 10m Air Rifle after finishing 12th in her qualification round at the Asaka Shooting Range.

The 25-year-old, who had been tipped as a medal contender, said: “I struggled a bit with fatigue and the heat.

“I’m mostly happy with how I fought through it and while the last couple of shots weren’t great, I’m pleased with how I performed.”

Chinese shooter Yang Qian took the first gold medal of the Games in the 10m event – McIntosh shoots again next weekend in the 50m competition.

Saturday is one of the busiest days at the Games with British boxers Pete McGrail from Liverpool and Karriss Artingstall from Macclesfield in Cheshire both in their first fights.

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At the Sea Forest Waterway venue Helen Glover and Polly Swann came third in their heat but still qualified for the semi-finals.

Glover is chasing gold at a third consecutive Games and is making her comeback after having three children since the Rio Games.

Her son turns three this weekend and sent his mum a good luck video message ahead of her competition.

Andy Murray made his Tokyo debut alongside doubles partner Joe Salisbury, winning against French Open champions Pierre Hugues Herbet and Nicolas Mahut.

Elsewhere in tennis, former world number one, Britain’s Heather Watson, was knocked out in the first round after she lost to Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany.

She was the only female contender put forward by Team GB after Johanna Konta tested positive for coronavirus.

Seventeen further COVID-19 cases have been confirmed among Games participants, bringing the total to over 130.

Organisers insist that the shortage of PCR testing kits reported yesterday has been rectified.

As well as the COVID concerns, organisers are also monitoring a typhoon in the region that may disrupt competition schedules for events like surfing.

Rowing schedules have already been altered to try and avoid the expected bad weather on Monday.

(c) Sky News 2021: Tokyo Olympics: Fans defy warnings from Games organisers by lining the streets to cheer on road race riders

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