The women’s individual triathlon began about 20 minutes late at the Tokyo Olympics, with typhoon concerns hanging over the Games.
Stormy conditions and pounding rain hit the Tokyo Bay area before the swim leg began for the triathlon, with conditions initially deemed unsuitable.
The typhoon has been dubbed Tropical Storm Nepartak. It has already seen the archery, rowing and sailing events adjust their Tuesday schedules. Tennis is one sport that can easily adjust, with a retractable roof at the complex.
Tokyo Games spokesperson Masa Takaya said that the typhoon was at least on the weak side.
“It is a tropical storm of three grade out of five, so you shouldn’t be too much worried about that, but it is a typhoon in Japan interpretation,” Takaya said. “This is the weakest category, but this is still a typhoon so we should not be too optimistic about the impact of the course.”
Australian canoeist Jessica Fox, the gold medal favourite in the kayak slalom, said the wild weather swings have been a disruption to the Olympic event.
“It is like a bath,” she said. “It is like paddling in bathwater.”
And the impending typhoon disruption?
“I am a bit concerned about that,” Fox said. “I saw the surfers and they were all excited about the weather, which isn’t ideal for us.”
Fox is paddling for an elusive gold medal in her pet event on Day 4 of the Games, having previously won silver and bronze in the K1. The semi-finals run from 3.15pm AEST and the final from 5pm.
Surfing is an obvious sport in the firing line from typhoon conditions, though it may actually improve conditions.
As a brewing storm stirred up the waves Monday during day two of surfing’s historic Olympic debut, there was a collapse of the favourites with some of the sport’s biggest stars failing to make their mark.
The second day of competition at Tsurigasaki beach, about 90km east of Tokyo, began with a stunning upset in the first heat in the women’s contest. Venerated Australian Stephanie Gilmore was eliminated by the 17th-ranked Bianca Buitendag of South Africa.
Gilmore, 33, is the most decorated surfer competing at these Games, and she had won the first day of Olympic competition with the highest ride and heat score.
The surf conditions were better on Monday than Sunday’s opening day, as surfers were gifted six-to-seven-foot waves that were twice as good as the day before.
That was because of the predicted typhoon, whose effects should be felt in Japan on Tuesday. The conditions should set the stage yet again for an explosive air show during the third day of competition.
Whether it’ll have the same choppy winds as Monday is unknown but it proved to be a challenge for some surfers in Day 2.