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Olympics: South Korea told to remove banners at village

Last updated on: July 17, 2021 20:21 IST
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South Korean Flags and signs hang on the appartment building hosting Olympics participants, at the Athletes Village, where a person has tested positive for COVID-19, ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo on Saturday

IMAGE: South Korean Flags and signs hang on the appartment building hosting Olympics participants, at the Athletes Village, where a person has tested positive for COVID-19, ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo on Saturday. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon

The South Korean team has removed banners with an historic reference to a past conflict with Japan from their Olympic village accommodation balconies in Tokyo, the International Olympic Committee said on Saturday.

The banners had been hung from the team's balconies in the Olympic village, home to the 10,500 athletes from more than 200 countries who will compete at the Games starting next week.

"I have been informed that the banners have been taken down by the South Korean Olympic Committee," IOC President Thomas Bach told a news conference.


"This obviously happened on the request of the IOC because the guidelines are also saying very clearly that the Olympic village is one of the protected areas where the athletes can live peacefully together without having to face any kind of divisive messages," he said.

This is not the first time the two countries have been at odds over flags and symbols during the Olympics.

Despite having normalised ties in 1965, relations between the two countries have often been strained, largely over Japan's occupation of the Korean peninsula in the past.

At the 2018 winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the roles were reversed with Japan complaining over fans waving a Korean peninsula flag depicting disputed islands in the sea between the two nations known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese.

South Korea also asked the IOC in 2019 to bar Japan from using the "Rising Sun" flag at the Games, a symbol of Japan’s imperialist past.

Germany walk off in friendly after alleged racist abuse

The German men's Olympic soccer team left the pitch five minutes before the end of their warm-up game against Honduras in Wakayama, Japan on Saturday after defender Jordan Torunarigha was allegedly racially abused.

The game, played behind closed doors in three 30-minute periods, was tied at 1-1 at the time of the incident, which the Honduras national team said was a misunderstanding.

"The game has ended 5 minutes early with the score at 1-1. The Germany players left the pitch after Jordan Torunarigha was racially abused," the national team said on Twitter.

Germany's Olympic soccer coach and former international Stefan Kuntz added "When one of our players is racially abused, playing on is not an option."

Germany begin their Olympic Group D campaign against Brazil on July 22, while Honduras will take on Romania in their Group B opener.

Brazil lifter Reis suspended from Games after positive drug test

The Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) provisionally suspended weightlifter Fernando Reis on Friday for failing an out-of-competition dope test conducted on June 11, ruling him out of the Tokyo Olympics starting next week.

The COB said in a statement that Brazil's anti-doping agency found the 31-year-old Reis' sample had contained the presence of a growth hormone.

"Thus, the athlete is excluded from the delegation that will compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games," the COB said.

"The Olympic Committee in Brazil reinforces its commitment to clean sport, maintaining several educational initiatives to combat doping.

"All athletes from the Brazilian delegation in Tokyo necessarily took the course on combating doping offered by the World Anti-Doping Agency."

Reis, a bronze medallist at the 2018 world weightlifting championships in Ashgabat in the +109 kg category after Uzbek Rustam Djangabaev's disqualification, was due to compete in his third Games.

The Brazilian weightlifting confederation said that three-times Pan American Games champion Reis was scheduled to travel to Tokyo next week.

He will now get the chance to have his B-sample analysed, the confederation added.

Reis finished 11th in London 2012 and fifth in Rio 2016 in the +105 kg category.

The Tokyo Games, delayed last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will begin on July 23.

South Africa sevens cleared after COVID-19 quarantine

South Africa's rugby sevens team, who are one of the medal favourites at the Tokyo Olympics, have been released from quarantine and cleared to travel to Kagoshima City, where they will have a final preparation camp, SA Rugby said in a statement.

The squad were forced into quarantine after a passenger on their flight from Doha to Tokyo, which arrived on Tuesday, tested positive for COVID-19, with the South African side considered close contacts because of their proximity on the plane.

But a review by Olympic officials has determined 17 of the 18 squad members are no longer deemed close contacts, and allowed to continue participation for the Games. The other member will remain in quarantine and join up with the squad at the Olympic Village in Tokyo, once cleared following the relevant COVID protocols.

The rugby sevens men's tournament at the Olympics is scheduled for July 26-28 at Tokyo Stadium.

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