Japan defeats Australia in women’s softball as Tokyo Olympics begin

A Japan player slides onto base as an Australia player catches the softball (AP)
3:15am, Wed 21 Jul 2021
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The delayed Tokyo Olympics got under way a year late on Wednesday with victory for Japan’s women’s softball team over Australia in Fukushima.

The coronavirus pandemic is still casting a long shadow over the Games despite the postponement and an opening event that was supposed to provide a boost to Fukushima a decade after its nuclear disaster was played in an empty arena.

But it was a winning start nonetheless for the hosts, who emerged 8-1 victors after five innings.

Japan won gold the last time softball was in the Olympics in 2008 and will be targeting a repeat, with the sport not on the roster for the Paris Games in 2024.

The Opening Ceremony is not until Friday but both the softball and women’s football programmes began on Wednesday.

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