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Tokyo holds test Olympics event without fans, top athletes

Tokyo holds test Olympics event without fans, top athletes
© BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images

Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday held a test event with no fans or top athletes present due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in Japan.

Attempts to have test events had been unsuccessful up to this point, as all of Japan's major sports leagues have been affected by the virus. The test event, used to test the rock climbing facilities, happened with amateur athletes and no spectators.

Nippon Professional Baseball — Japan's baseball league — is holding preseason games in empty stadiums and the J-League (soccer) has postponed matches until March 18.

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More than 1,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Japan, many from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship, with at least six deaths.

Despite this, the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organizers have insisted that the games will begin as scheduled on July 24, with the Paralympics set to start Aug. 25.

The coronavirus has infected nearly 100,000 people worldwide and has a death toll of more than 3,000, with most diagnoses and deaths coming from China, where the outbreak originated.