Africa: Tokyo 2020 Olympics Notebook – Day 20


Coffee protests at Olympic Stadium media centre

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There was a near riot at the Tokyo National Stadium’s Media Centre Friday when local officials announced that coffee had run out during the morning athletics session. Covering such major championships is a high-adrenaline job for journalists who take their coffee strong, just to stay awake and alert. So serious was the coffee issue that some journalists threatened to seek redress from the top echelons of the International Olympic Committee, including President Thomas Bach. The coffee did come, eventually… Thankfully, there will be lots of finely brewed Kenyan coffee in Nairobi for journalists covering next month’s World Under-20 Championships and September’s Kip Keino Classic. And lots of Tusker too!

Merry-making for ground-breaking Brit Katherine

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Former elite 400 metres runner Katharine Merry has become the first female English stadium announcer to be appointed by World Athletics for an Olympic Games. The humorous and witty Merry won a bronze medal in the 400 metres at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The World Athletics event presentation team is headed by Sports Presentation Delegate Florian Weber. Along with the Japanese announcers, the track and field sessions now have three female and two male voices on the mic, the first ever too. There aren’t many firsts still to be had after 125 years of Olympic athletics but here’s one: @KatharineMerry becomes the first female in-stadium Olympic athletics commentator. Good work. Onwards,” the other English announcer Geoff Wightman tweeted.

Yes, you can look, but you can’t touch

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Despite the state of emergency in Tokyo announced by Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in a bid to control the spread of the coronavirus, the ladies of the entertainment districts of Tokyo are still having their way. Adult entertainment clubs are discreetly operating after hours, thirsting to rake in some income from the legion of foreign visitors here for the Olympic Games. Some of the ladies of the night dance seductively with the vigour of Olympic figure-skating medalists in these adult clubs, with others making Olympic swimmers appear over-dressed. However, there’s a disclaimer for drooling patrons: “You can look, but you can’t touch.” So I’m told, as I’m on the straight and narrow, and religiously heeding the principles of social distancing.



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