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Qantas A330 carries first Australian Olympians to Tokyo

written by Adam Thorn | July 19, 2021
VH-QPJ took the first batch of Aussie athletes to Tokyo on Saturday (AOC)

A Qantas A330 carried the first batch of Australian Olympic athletes to Tokyo on Saturday.

The aircraft, VH-QPJ msn 0712, departed Cairns on 17 July at 1:53pm as flight QF6062 and landed in Tokyo at 8:10pm.

It was carrying 219 officials, staff and competitors, including those from the swimming, rowing, hockey, women’s water polo, men’s beach volleyball, badminton, table tennis and weightlifting teams.

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The next day, the women’s beach volleyball team took a commercial flight, believed to be an All Nippon Airways 787-9, JA921A msn 43865, which departed Sydney at 9:14pm on 18 July as flight NH880 and landed in Tokyo at 5:42am the next day.

In total, 11,000 athletes, officials and journalists will be flying in for the Olympics, which are set to begin this Friday.

Ian Chesterman, the ‘Chef de Mission’ in charge of the Australian national team, said, “An enormous amount of work has gone into creating a space for our athletes that is welcoming and friendly as well as meeting those practical needs to promote their best performance. The place is now buzzing.

“We have been very conscious that while these Games are different, the experience in our allotment had to be positive. Each team receives a full briefing on arrival, including details of our COVID counter-measures that are particular to our space, on top of the playbook protocols.”

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However, already a number of South African athletes have tested positive, including two football players as well as a video analyst.

The hosting of the games has been a controversial topic in the host nation, with a state of emergency in Tokyo declared on 9 July. Already, the Delta variant has caused all crowds to be banned.

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