Inter vice-president Javier Zanetti said the Serie A champions have "serious financial problems" amid ongoing uncertainty over their ownership.

Atalanta's 1-1 draw with Sassuolo last week meant Inter were crowned champions of Italy for the first time since Jose Mourinho's treble-winning side in 2009-10, ending Juventus' run of nine consecutive Scudetti.

Despite leading Inter to glory, head coach Antonio Conte's future remains uncertain due to the Nerazzurri's financial situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic as owners Suning Holdings Group reportedly consider selling the team.

Reports of a possible sale first emerged in the middle of the season and rumours regarding the Chinese owners – who acquired a majority stake in 2016 – persist amid the COVID-19 crisis.

"It's true that the club could've been sold mid-season," former Inter star and captain Zanetti told La Nacion.

"We were going through serious financial problems, even if we weren't the only ones in such a difficult moment.

"I saw that as a club we can still improve. The coach has done something extraordinary over two years, now it's up to us to improve the internal mechanism and aspire to something more.

"The financial problems remain and it could take a couple of years to rediscover that balance. We need people back in the stadium to make the sponsors happy. Basically, a return to normality.

"We mustn't hide, it is a delicate moment, but we want this so we can take a bigger step forward. What we need is an over-reaching strategy that guarantees sustainability in the long-term."

Conte earned his fourth Serie A title this season – only five other coaches in league history have managed at least four.

The former Italy boss is only the second coach in Serie A history to win a Scudetto with both Inter and Juve, joining Giovanni Trapattoni.

"Conte has brought a work ethic and mentality first and foremost," Zanetti said. "He convinced even the youngest players that his project could really work. Since the day he arrived, not a day has gone by without him thinking how to improve this team. He convinced the club to follow him.

"There was some initial scepticism about his past at Juventus, but they learned to love him. He has been focused since the first day and accepted this challenge like a real Interista."

Eight of England's 11 players involved in the Indian Premier League have returned home following the indefinite suspension of the tournament.

The decision to call a halt to this year's competition was taken on Tuesday amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic in India.

After two cases were confirmed among the Kolkata Knight Riders, Monday's game against Royal Challengers Bangalore was postponed. A Sunrisers Hyderabad player then also tested positive ahead of their fixture with Mumbai Indians.

Focus is now on seeing participants leave the country safely, with fears players would need to self-isolate in India and also return a negative coronavirus test before attempting to get a flight.

However, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Sam Billings, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali and Jason Roy all boarded a flight that landed at Heathrow on Wednesday.

They will have to quarantine in government-approved hotels for the next 10 days.

The remaining three England players who were on duty - Eoin Morgan, Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan - are expected to leave India within the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley has confirmed the contingent of Australian IPL players will be moved to the Maldives or Sri Lanka in the coming days.

The Australian government has blocked citizens returning home within 14 days of being in India, meaning they will first have to isolate elsewhere.

The Indian Premier League has been suspended indefinitely amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India and Indian Premier League Governing Council confirmed the news in a joint statement on Tuesday after reports of COVID cases in three teams.

Kolkata Knight Riders duo Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive, forcing Monday's game against Royal Challengers Bangalore to be rescheduled.

Reports also suggest Sunrisers Hyderabad wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha tested positive, leading to the whole team having to isolate, while there were two reported cases in the Chennai Super Kings team.

"The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in an emergency meeting has unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect," a statement read.

"The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and well-being of all the stakeholders in mind.

"These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times.

"The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021.

"The BCCI would like to thank all the healthcare workers, state associations, players, support staff, franchises, sponsors, partners and all the service providers who have tried their best to organise IPL 2021 even in these extremely difficult times."

India has seen a sharp rise in COVID numbers in the country in recent weeks, with the total number in excess of 20 million since the start of the global pandemic.

The Indian Premier League has confirmed two positive coronavirus cases in the Kolkata Knight Riders squad, forcing Monday's game against Royal Challengers Bangalore to be rescheduled.

Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier both tested positive for COVID-19 and are now isolating away from the squad.

The rest of the Knight Riders' group returned negative results, though a daily testing schedule has now been put in place to quickly identify any further cases that occur.

No new date for the round-robin game against the Royal Challengers has been announced.

India has seen a sharp rise in COVID numbers in the country in recent weeks, with the total number in excess of 19million since the start of the global pandemic.

However, this is the first time there have been confirmed cases within the IPL bubble. The Twenty20 tournament returned to India this year after the 2020 edition was staged in the United Arab Emirates.

"Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier were found to be positive in the third round of testing in the last four days. All other team members have tested negative for COVID -19," a statement on the IPL website read.

"Both the players have isolated themselves from the rest of the squad. The medical team is in continuous touch with the duo and are monitoring their health. Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them at the earliest.

"The medical team is also determining the close and casual contacts of the two positive cases during the 48 hours prior to collection of the sample that returned the positive test results.

"The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and the Kolkata Knight Riders prioritise the health and safety of everyone involved and all measures are being taken in that endeavour."

Kolkata sit seventh in the IPL table after two wins in seven games. They lost by seven wickets to Delhi Capitals in their most recent outing, which took place last Thursday at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Twickenham will host the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals, with up to 10,000 fans in attendance at each.

The iconic London venue was chosen to stage the two showpiece contests after coronavirus restrictions meant Marseille was ruled out of hosting duties.

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) and the Rugby Football Union released a joint statement confirming the news on Friday.

The Challenge Cup final will take place on 21 May, with the Champions Cup showdown the following day, and thousands of supporters will be welcomed to both.

"Fans are the lifeblood of European club tournaments and we are delighted to be able to welcome them back in a COVID-secure environment for this season's finals," said EPCR CEO Vincent Gaillard.

"Twickenham has a storied history with club rugby's greatest tournament, and it will be a fitting venue to see silverware contested next month."

The identity of the four finalists will be known after the coming weekend, with Toulouse facing Bordeaux Begles and La Rochelle meeting Leinster in the premier continental knockout tournament, while there is a possibility of an all-English final in the Challenge Cup as Leicester Tigers take on Ulster and Bath tackle Montpellier.

There will be no Canadian Grand Prix in Formula One in 2021, with the series instead heading to Turkey in June.

Montreal had been set to host the event across June 11-13, but travel restrictions relating to the coronavirus pandemic have dictated a change in plans.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix is scheduled for the week prior and Canada currently imposes a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The COVID-19 crisis saw last season's Canadian Grand Prix cancelled, too, but F1 has agreed a two-year extension, meaning the race will return in 2022.

In the meantime, the Turkish Grand Prix has been restored to the calendar.

It was on the slate in 2020 and saw Lewis Hamilton's latest title triumph confirmed with victory in Istanbul in November.

Australia internationals Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa are returning home from the Indian Premier League, while Ravichandran Ashwin has announced he is taking a break from the tournament.

Fast bowler Richardson played once in the 2021 edition, taking 1-29 from three overs in Bangalore's 10-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals on April 22.

Leg-spinner Zampa, however, did not feature for the Royal Challengers, who confirmed the departure of the duo for personal reasons.

"Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson are returning to Australia for personal reasons and will be unavailable for the remainder of #IPL2021. Royal Challengers Bangalore management respects their decision and offers them complete support," a statement on Twitter read.

Andrew Tye had become the first Australian to depart the IPL bubble on Sunday, a decision made by the Rajasthan Royals fast bowler over concerns about flights home amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in India.

The country has been setting global records for daily figures, with over 17million confirmed cases in total during the pandemic.

"I just thought I should try and get on the front foot and get home before I got locked out of the country," Tye told radio station SEN while in Doha awaiting to complete his journey to Australia.

"There's definitely concerns. A lot of guys have been in touch once they've realised I was leaving. Some of the guys are very interested in what route I took home and how I approached it."

A three-day snap lockdown was placed on the Perth and Peel areas of Western Australia last week amid concerns over coronavirus spreading within communities.

Ashwin, meanwhile, is leaving the Delhi Capitals squad to focus on helping his family during the coronavirus crisis.

"I would be taking a break from this year's IPL from tomorrow," he tweeted on Sunday. "My family and extended family are putting up a fight against COVID-19 and I want to support them during these tough times. I expect to return to play if things go in the right direction. Thank you."

Ashwin has taken one wicket and posted an economy rate of 7.73 runs per over in his five outings for the Capitals, who defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday to make it four wins in five outings.

Tokyo, Osaka and two other prefectures are set to enter a state of emergency just three months before Japan's capital is due to host the rescheduled Olympic Games.

Restrictions will be imposed from April 25 through to May 11 in a bid to curb rising coronavirus infections in Japan.

Bars, restaurants and karaoke parlours serving alcohol will be asked to close, while sporting events are set to be held behind closed doors.

Additionally, department stores and cinemas will close, while people will be encouraged to work from home. Schools, however, will remain open.

Economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said: "We absolutely have to limit the movement of people, and we have to do it decisively.

"We need powerful, short and focused measures."

Kyoto and Hyogo are the other two areas to come under the new restrictions.

It marks the third time Japan will enter a state of emergency. The decision comes as the country's medical system struggles to contend with a rise in COVID-19 infections caused by new variants.

The Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee has not swayed from its stance that the Games – postponed last year as a result of the pandemic – will go ahead despite a strong swell of public support for a cancellation.

Last week, Toshihiro Nikai – the secretary general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party – said cancellation remains a possibility, although Olympics Minister Tamayo Maruyama said that was not being considered.

International spectators have already been banned from attending the Games, which are due to begin on July 23, while a decision over domestic spectators going to events is reportedly set to be delayed.

Germany's Bundesliga teams will be forced to enter 'quarantine training camps' next month in a move designed to ensure the season ends before Euro 2020.

The drastic step was announced by the German football league (DFL) on Thursday and will begin on May 3 with an initial soft quarantine as players, coaches and team officials are ordered to only leave their homes to visit club training facilities or to take part in a matchday.

A harder quarantine will follow from May 12 as the same groups are ordered to stay in locked-down team camps away from their families when not involved in games, with that period ending after the final matches of the season take place on the weekend of May 22-23. It means teams must provide accommodation and living quarters for players and core team staff over that period.

The new rules will apply to all 18 clubs in the Bundesliga and also those that make up the 2. Bundesliga, with the DFL declaring it had told clubs in March that this step was under consideration.

Hertha Berlin players were ordered to isolate last week in a move that has seen three of their Bundesliga games postponed, while the second division of the league has also been hit by call-offs due to COVID-19 cases, complicating the task of finishing the season on time.

Any further cases in the closing weeks of the campaign could cause fixture backlogs that may prove insurmountable before the Euros. Relegation play-offs follow the Bundesliga regular season, and Euro 2020 begins on June 11.

The DFL said in a statement: "Two steps are planned: firstly, the group of persons included in the regular PCR testing programme, comprising the professional team, coaching team and team officials, must stay solely in their home environment or on the training premises/in the stadium ['quasi quarantine'] from Monday, 3 May.

"This is intended to reduce contact and further minimise the infection risk and was successfully implemented in the final phase of last season after the resumption of match operations.

"In the next step, from Wednesday, 12 May, the corresponding group of persons at all 36 clubs will enter a 'quarantine training camp', having undergone a PCR test with a negative result no more than 24 hours beforehand. The 'quarantine training camp' is compulsory until the end of the final match of the respective club on matchday 34 [22/23 May]. Consequently, the last two matchdays of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 according to the fixture list fall within this specific period.

"The purpose of the 'quarantine training camps' is to provide extra safeguards for the staging of matches, particularly in view of the time pressure caused by UEFA EURO, which follows the regular season.

"It is the clubs' responsibility to ensure that players, coaches and training staff come into contact with no one but each other during the stated period."

Bayern Munich, who said they welcomed the quarantine plan, look set to wrap up the Bundesliga title before their players are forced to collectively isolate. Victory over Mainz on Saturday would guarantee a ninth successive championship for the Bavarians.

Hertha Berlin have requested three matches be postponed due to being forced into 14-day quarantine as a result of COVID-19 cases within the Bundesliga club.

Hertha have asked to delay scheduled fixtures against Mainz (April 18), Frieburg (April 21) and Schalke (April 24) after left-back Marvin Plattenhardt tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday. 

Head coach Pal Dardai, assistant coach Admir Hamzagic and striker Dodi Lukebakio had positive tests earlier in the day, prompting the German club to implement the two-week quarantine. 

Hertha initially had planned to play their matches during that period but the additional positive test to Plattenhardt prompted the plea to push them back.

"Due to the cases that have occurred, we are now forced to a 14-day quarantine at home," said sporting director Arne Friedrich, who took charge of training on Thursday with Dardai out.

"From a health point of view, this is absolutely the right step. because we now have to play six Bundesliga games by the end of the season on May 22, 2021 in the fight to stay relegated in May. 

"During the quarantine at home, the team will keep fit with virtual training units under the guidance of the coaching team. 

"We accept the situation despite the difficult circumstances and will throw everything in our power for a successful season finale into the balance."

There was no immediate response from the German Football League (DFL), which had announced new dates for several 2.Bundesliga matches that had been postponed due to coronavirus cases. 

Hertha sit just outside the relegation play-off place on goal difference ahead of fellow strugglers Arminia Bielefeld, while the capital club are three points clear of the automatic relegation positions with six games remaining.

 

The Chicago Bulls' fading playoff hopes have taken another blow as All-Star Zach LaVine is set to miss some time. 

LaVine is in the NBA's health and safety protocol amid the coronavirus pandemic, the team confirmed on Thursday.

He will miss at least Friday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies. 

The Bulls had been scheduled to practice on Thursday, but it was called off because of health and safety protocols, a team spokesperson told reporters. 

Entering Thursday's action, the Bulls (22-32) were in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, holding a one-game lead over the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards for the final spot in the play-in tournament.   

LaVine is averaging a career-best 27.5 points per game. He scored 30 points and added seven assists in a loss to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

Chicago have dropped four games in a row and 12 of their last 16.

 

Cancelling the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics remains an option, according to a top official from Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). 

The Games, which were postponed last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, are set to take place between July 23 and August 8, with the Paralympics following from August 24 until September 5.

The health crisis continues to cause issues for nations across the globe but the message from the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has thus far been that the show will go on.

International fans are banned from attending, and social-distancing measures, track-and-trace systems and temperature checks will be enforced.

With experts in Japan warning the country has entered a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, the secretary general of the LDP, Toshihiro Nikai, said cancelling the Games remains a possibility. 

"If it seems impossible to go on with the games, they must be definitely cancelled," Nikai told TBS TV.

"If there is a surge in infections because of the Olympics, there will be no meaning to having the Olympics."

Asked if cancellation was still an option, he added: "Of course."

A recent poll conducted by Japanese news agency Kyodo News revealed that 39.2 per cent of respondents want the Games to be cancelled, with 32.8 per cent in favour of it being delayed again.

 

Only 100 days remain until the rearranged Tokyo Olympics begin, some 12 months after they were originally scheduled to take place in the Japanese capital.

The overriding question over the past year has simply been: how will this happen?

Uncertainty still lingers over the monumental logistical effort needed to reschedule an Olympics, one that did not take place as planned for the first time since World War II as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Over a year since it was first confirmed the Games would be put back, the global health crisis is still wreaking havoc as countries battle COVID-19 with varying levels of success.

For the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese government, a more pertinent question may be: how could the Games not go ahead?

Soon, more than 11,000 athletes plus their coaches, as well as throngs of media and officials from around 200 nations, will flock into a single city during a pandemic.

As the Games come into view and the ceremonial lighting of the Olympic cauldron draws closer, the message has been pretty clear – one way or another, the show will go on.

So, just where are we at and what do we still not fully know about how the Games will function?

HOW THE SITUATION IS VIEWED IN JAPAN

While there appears little chance of another immediate postponement, there has not been particularly mass support from the people of Japan.

A Times report in January citing an unnamed Japanese government source suggested the Games would be cancelled – suggestions that were labelled as "categorically untrue" by the IOC.

But a survey taken by the Kyodo News Agency in the same month found approximately 80 per cent of people wanted another postponement or cancellation. 

A more recent poll taken by consultancy Kekst CNC found 56 per cent of respondents in the country do not want the Olympics to take place.

Confidence in Japan's ability to host the Games will hardly have been improved by the Olympic torch relay being prevented from taking place on public roads in Osaka on April 13 and 14 due to a surge in coronavirus cases.

While a full lockdown has never been imposed in Japan, a second state of emergency in Tokyo was only lifted on March 22.

Daily new infection rates in Japan decreased to a little over 500 in early March, but rates have steadily been on the rise again, with over 3,695 reported on April 10. Over 9,000 people have died after having a confirmed case in the country.

There are also concerns about the speed of the vaccine rollout in Japan, with frontline medical workers having not started receiving jabs until February. It could be July by the time the wider population is offered a shot.

PLAYBOOKS, TESTING AND NO MANDATORY VACCINATIONS

Despite those reservations, the IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee have pressed ahead to come up with an extensive collaborative list of rules in a 'playbook'.

Athletes and officials, members of the press, and international federations are among the groups who will have to follow playbooks for the duration of the Games.

The guidance we have all become so familiar with for over a year is stressed: avoid physical contact, maintain distance, follow good hand hygiene, wear masks, and keep away from crowded spaces where possible.

Chanting and singing is discouraged, with the playbook stating athletes should be supported instead by clapping.

Additionally, an activity plan must be provided for the first 14 days when entering Japan – including details of planned activities, travel intentions, and accommodation details.

All those required to adhere to the rules of the playbook are permitted to visit only official Games venues and selected other locations, while going to bars, shops, restaurants or tourist locations is not allowed.

No mandatory period of quarantining will be required, unlike what was in place for the tennis Australian Open earlier this year, but anyone who provides a positive coronavirus test will have to isolate – which the playbook states may be at a government-approved isolation facility.

Athletes will not be required to have received a vaccine against COVID-19 to take part in the Games, although the IOC has actively encouraged participants to take the opportunity if possible.

The issue of whether vaccines should be mandatory remains a contentious one. Middle-distance athlete Genzebe Dibaba, a silver medallist for Ethiopia in the 1,500 metres at Rio 2016, recently told Stats Perform News she feels competitors should get a jab.

"Yes, I think it's safe and more comfortable to manage, to meet with the other athletes. [I think it's] better to take the vaccine," she said.

Swimming great Mark Spitz, a legend of the 1972 Games in Munich where he won seven golds, also believes Olympians should take a vaccine.

Speaking courtesy of Laureus, Spitz told Stats Perform: "Personally I've received the vaccine because of my age, I didn't jump in front of anyone in line. And there's nothing to fear from the vaccine.

"According to the doctors and the experts we're somewhere in excess of 90 per cent protected - that doesn't mean I don't observe social distancing, masking up and all the other things we've heard so much about and have been observing.

"I think the athletes will have to cope with these type of observances. I think the athletes should be vaccinated, not only for their own good but for anyone they come into contact with in their journey to get to Tokyo."

Athletes are to be tested every four days, but no decision has yet been taken on whether a positive result will see competitors prohibited from taking part in their events – the contention over potentially false positive tests remaining a sticking point.

At past Olympics, Games accommodation 'villages' have earned a reputation as party venues, with competitors clustered and able to blow off steam at the end of a brutal four-year training cycle.

But this year promises to be an altogether different experience, with athletes told to arrive five days before competing and leave no later than two days after their event finishes.

Temperature checks are required to be taken every day, and playbooks warn that such tests will also be required to enter any official Games venue – a temperature of more than 37.5 degrees would mean a competitor is not allowed to enter.

TRAINING DISRUPTION AND OVERSEAS FANS BANNED

Disruption to the Games has not just been a nightmare for organisers. Athletes too have had to rip up plans and training schedules, and find ways to adapt during unusual times.

Qualifiers and warm-up events have been cancelled or rescheduled, many official competitions have bitten the dust, and several months have been spent at home training, with practice facilities closing during lockdowns.

Amid the uncertainty has been the real fear of a full cancellation, and many have pondered whether the Games will lack integrity due to the varying levels of preparedness of athletes.

But many also believe athletes will just be desperate to compete on the biggest stage of all after over 12 months of turmoil.

"Everybody knows how special the Olympics are; for an athlete it cannot really get any better. You obviously want to do yourself proud and your family, but also you are representing your country," Fabian Cancellara, the cycling time trial gold medallist at both the 2008 and 2016 Olympics, told Stats Perform.

"Obviously with cycling I had many other big events, but the Olympics is huge and something you can never forget both when competing and the whole Olympic experience.

"You wait four, or in this case five years. Who knows how it is going to be in Tokyo really, nobody is quite sure but I'm sure they can still put a great Olympics on.

"The athletes will be even more hungry after waiting an extra year and whoever gets to experience what I did and become an Olympic champion, it's going to be amazing for them."

Spitz acknowledged the disruption, but he too hopes competitors will have had ample time to prepare.

"I can't speak on behalf on a lot of different sports and how their training habits have been affected. I know swimming, for example, it's been a bit of a concern since we can't get into pools here in America," he said.

"It has a profound effect on swimming obviously. Especially these large pools we need to practise in, 50-metre pools, it's not in somebody's back yard, and you need to be coached and assembled in a team.

"So, this was put on the sidelines for a number of months back in the winter time, but a lot of the athletes are on track right now. They have opened up these facilities and far enough in advance that come time for the Olympic Games we're going to see top-notch performances from swimmers around the world. How it's affected gymnastics or other sports I'm not quite sure but it definitely has affected them."

One thing that is certain is those competing are sure to do so in a very different atmosphere to past Olympics.

Last month, it was confirmed no overseas visitors will be allowed to attend the Games – a significant blow to an event that prides itself on providing an international flavour.

Approximately 900,000 to one million tickets had reportedly been sold across the Olympic and Paralympic Games to overseas spectators, all of which will need to be refunded.

Fears of a behind-closed-doors Games are unlikely to come to fruition, although a decision about a potential cap on capacity of venues is likely to be made in the near future.

TOO COSTLY TO CANCEL?

Of course, for all the messages of unity and triumphing amid adversity, there will be cynics asking whether this all boils down to one thing: money.

There is undoubtedly an element of truth that there is plenty to lose financially.

As of December 2020, it was reported the budget for the Olympics had risen to a whopping £11.5billion, an extra £2.1bn compared to the totals a year prior.

The additional costs are said to be mainly down to measures needed to combat the threat of COVID-19 and the renegotiating of contracts.

And there is pressure too from broadcasters, who contribute to around three quarters of the IOC's budget, who remain adamant the Games should go ahead.

So, yes, here we are with 100 days to go and barring a monumental change of heart, the show will indeed go on.

Genzebe Dibaba believes it would be a more comfortable experience at the Tokyo Games if athletes are vaccinated against coronavirus and is confident organisers will do all they can to protect competitors at the Olympics.

Wednesday marks 100 days until the Games are due to begin in the Japanese capital, a year later than planned after the original dates in 2020 were scuppered by the pandemic.

The health crisis continues to cause issues for nations across the globe but the message from the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has thus far been that the show will go on.

While international fans are banned from attending, and social-distancing measures, track-and-trace systems and temperature checks will be enforced, a vaccination against COVID-19 will not be a pre-requisite to participate in Tokyo.

Middle and long-distance runner Dibaba, a silver medallist in the 1500 metres at Rio 2016 and the world record holder over that distance, thinks athletes should have a jab for the Games.

"Yes, I think it's safe and more comfortable to manage, to meet with the other athletes," Dibaba told Stats Perform News.

"[I think it's] better to take the vaccine."

As part of the solutions to try and prevent transmission of the virus at the Games, Tokyo 2020 and the IOC have come up with 'Playbooks' for athletes, officials and the media to follow – which includes having to complete an activity book outlining plans while in the city.

Regular testing will also be enforced, with athletes being checked every four days, and Dibaba acknowledged organisers are doing what they can to put on a safe Games.

"It's hard to feel safe because it's a virus and you can get it at any minute," she added.

"But since it's the Olympics, I know they will do everything they can to protect us."

Dibaba spoke about the difficulties athletes have faced in training for an Olympics facing so much uncertainty.

But the Ethiopian – a world champion in 2015 – is still focused on moving up a step on the podium in Tokyo, even if she feels a crack at breaking her own 1500m world record may have to wait a little while.

"For now I'm getting ready for the Olympics, not for the record," Dibaba said. 

"It's a race, since it's a record anyone can break it if they work hard. If they go for the record I will be there. 

"If not I'm just working for the Olympic Games, not for the record. After the Olympics, I promise you I will try one more time that I will go for the record."

World number two Daniil Medvedev has pulled out of the Monte Carlo Masters after returning a positive coronavirus test.

The Russian, who was given a bye for the first round, went into isolation after returning a positive test on Monday.

"It's a big disappointment not to play in Monte Carlo," he said in a statement. "My focus is now on recovery and I look forward to getting back out on Tour as soon and as safely as possible."

Medvedev, who lost the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic in January, had been practising with 11-time Monte Carlo champion Rafael Nadal on Monday.

The 25-year-old last played at the Miami Open at the end of March, where he lost in the quarter-finals to Roberto Bautista Agut.

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