Olympics to begin but softball opener is unlikely to distract a fearful nation | Justin McCurry

With Covid cases mounting and local resistance escalating ever higher, the hope is that the actual action beginning on Wednesday will dampen down the criticism

The Olympic softball teams of Japan and Australia will have to produce something close to a classic this week if they are to divert attention from an increasingly chaotic build-up to the Tokyo Games.

In normal times memories of the scandals that blighted preparations for the Games – from allegations of vote-buying during the bidding stage to high-profile resignations over sexism – would shrink into the background as soon as the first pitch is delivered at the Azuma baseball stadium in Fukushima on Wednesday in the opening action from the Olympics.

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