Olympics-Brazilian judokas frustrated after isolation order at 'patience Games'

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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian judokas expressed frustration on Thursday after all the members of their team already in Japan were forced to isolate in their hotel even though none of them had tested positive for COVID-19.

Seven members of the hotel staff in the city of Hamamatsu were positive for the virus, obliging the Brazilian team staying there to take precautions.

“Today we’re living in a hotel where there’s no one else but us,” Ney Wilson, the frustrated team leader said. “We can’t even touch the buttons in the elevators, there’s a person there to do that for us.

“These are the patience Games.”

The six members of the Brazil team are tested daily for COVID-19 and obliged to use gloves when entering the self-service restaurant.

“We have a restaurant for our exclusive use with cuisine adapted for Brazilian tastes,” he said. “No one sits facing anyone else, everyone sits in front of the wall.”

The athletes train in a self-contained bubble, separated by glass screens from the public permitted to watch them prepare.

A second group of judokas who are due to arrive in Tokyo on Thursday will be kept separate from those already on site, Wilson said. They will be forced to train and eat separately for four days in compliance with strict COVID-19 protocols.

Judo is one of Brazil’s most successful Olympic disciplines, with at least one podium appearance at every games since 1984. Wilson said the priority was maintaining that excellent record.

“The primary objective is to ensure that destiny repeats itself,” he said of a team that won three bronze medals in the world championships in June.

“I believe that we have the potential to add to the medal haul of the Brazilian Olympic Committee.”

(Reporting by Eduardo Simoes in Sao Paulo; writing by Andrew Downie; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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