No fans will be able to attend this year’s delayed Olympic Games due to strict Covid restrictions in Japan. But one Asian black bear defied the coronavirus guidance and ended up inside an Olympic stadium before players took to the field.
The bear was spotted on two occasions on Wednesday, just before the opening softball match between Japan and Australia.
A statement from organisers said: “A guard found a bear inside Azuma Sports Park early in the morning yesterday [on Tuesday]. We also received similar information this morning.”
Officials at the ground were unable to track down the bear but it left the stadium on its own accord.
“We couldn’t find or capture the bear”, the organisers’ statement continued, “and while there won’t be any spectators at the stadium, we are on alert and searching for the bear around the site.”
Instead, organisers tried to frighten the loose bear away from the stadium.
They played music and let off firecrackers in a bid to push the animal towards the exit.
Local newspaper Sports Hochi reported an army of Olympic guards were tasked with searching for the bear throughout the night.
Officials across Japan will be on alert to bear threats during the summer.
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Japan, hoping to retain their 2008 softball gold medal, overcame Australia’s initial lead to win the opening fixture 8-1.
The 14,300-seater in Fukushima will also host baseball matches at the Tokyo Games.
The Tokyo Games will showcase a total of 33 different sports this summer, making it the largest Olympic program to date.