Tokyo Olympics sports start with softball game in Fukushima

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The softball game in Fukushima is the first sports event of the Tokyo Olympics

Host nation Japan easily beat Australia as the sports programme at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics finally got underway with a softball game in disaster-wracked Fukushima on Wednesday.

Japan's 8-1 victory, in a sport returning to the Olympic fold for the first time since 2008, took place two days before the opening ceremony of the pandemic-delayed Games.

Spectators were absent under the stringent coronavirus measures in place for an Olympics that is facing widespread opposition from the public in Japan, where infections are rising.

Japan have had to wait 13 years to defend the title they won at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and they dominated their Australian opponents in Fukushima, site of the tsunami-triggered nuclear disaster in 2011.

Their toughest challenge is likely to come from the United States, who play Italy in the second game on Wednesday.