Isolated, training in masks: virus hits China’s Olympians
Teams at home and abroad ordered to train behind closed doors to guard against infection
The coronavirus has destroyed the Tokyo Olympic dreams of some Chinese athletes and disrupted the preparations of others, forcing them to miss tournaments and train in strict isolation – sometimes in masks.
Games organisers are adamant that the outbreak, which is centred on the Chinese city of Wuhan and has killed more than 2,100 people, will not derail one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar. But it is likely to compromise the performance of the Chinese team, which numbered 416 at the Rio 2016 Games and has been top three on the medals table at every Olympics this century.
There are no known cases among Chinese competitors, but the virus outbreak coincides with a critical stage in their build-up to the Olympics, which begin on July 24. In one stark example, China’s women’s football team resorted to doing stretching exercises in the corridor of a Brisbane hotel after they were quarantined ahead of an Olympic qualifying tournament...