Tokyo Olympics: Dutch rowing coach tests positive for COVID-19

Some 132 people accredited to the Summer Games have tested positive for COVID since July 1.

Josy Verdonkschot serves as head coach for 'several' Dutch women's boats competing at the Tokyo Games [Leah Millis/ Reuters]
Josy Verdonkschot serves as head coach for 'several' Dutch women's boats competing at the Tokyo Games [Leah Millis/ Reuters]

Dutch rowing coach Josy Verdonkschot has tested positive for COVID-19, the Netherlands Olympic Committee (NOCNSF) said on Sunday and has gone into a 10-day quarantine in Japan.

The news comes after 21-year-old Dutch single sculls competitor Finn Florijn tested positive on Friday.

Another staff member on the Dutch rowing team, as well as Dutch taekwondo competitor Reshmie Oogink and skateboarder Candy Jacobs, tested positive last week.

Verdonkschot serves as head coach for “several” of the women’s boats competing at the Tokyo Games but did not travel with the four members of Team Netherlands who tested positive, TeamNL said.

“My personal feelings play no role,” Verdonkschot said in a written statement.

“Our programme is well put together, we know from each other what we can and should do. The missing of the coach has no influence anymore. My trust in my staff and my athletes is endless. They will finish this job.”

Some 132 people accredited to the Tokyo Games have tested positive for COVID since July 1, according to organisers.

TeamNL said Verdonkschot was informed of his Saturday morning test results that evening and was tracking any close contacts within the guidelines of Tokyo 2020.

Close contacts will be allowed to continue competing “under special conditions”, including taking separate transport and eating and sleeping in separate rooms.

“He’s doing ok, we’ve got a message from him and he sounded relaxed and confident,” said Dutch rower Sophie Souwer, who advanced in the single sculls after finishing second in her quarter-final round.

“We were already sharp from the beginning, now we are even sharper. We have a lot of coaches around us and people that are still on the course and around us.”

The Dutch had dominated across the board in early competition at the Sea Forest Waterway and four boats were set to compete on Sunday.

The Netherlands picked up three rowing medals at the 2016 Rio Games.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters

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