G’day Tokyo! Australia softball team become first to arrive in Japan ahead of Olympics

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Australia will face Japan in the opening match of Tokyo 2020 on 21 July 2021.

Australia's softball team have become the first international side to arrive in Tokyo ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games.

The group, led by head coach Robert Laing Harrow, touched down in Tokyo at 7.31am local time and were taken to their pre-Games training camp in Ota City, Gunma Prefecture, on a private team bus.

All 29 members of the Aussie Spirit team, including players and staff, were vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to departure from Sydney and will undergo daily tests as part of the city’s Covid countermeasures.

Australia begin their Olympic campaign against hosts Japan two days before the Opening Ceremony on Wednesday 21 July at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.

"We are very grateful to Ota City for hosting our team and allowing us to prepare for the Olympics in July," Harrow said. "We are lucky enough to be the first team to open Olympic competition against Japan which is very exciting and a huge honour, we look forward to putting on a good show for the Japanese people as thanks for their generosity in hosting us."

Australia softball team arrive in Tokyo

The Aussie Spirit team flew into Tokyo on 1 June and will train in Ota City, Gunma, ahead of the Olympic Games.

The team, who will start training this Saturday, 5 June, are scheduled to play 23 warm-up matches against pro-league sides before their Olympics campaign begins.

Softball will make its long-awaited return to the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020 after being dropped for London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Japan were the last country to win gold, at Beijing 2008, but Australia has won a softball medal at every Olympic Games the sport has featured, winning silver at Athens 2004 and bronze in Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008.

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