Aussie track and field team cleared after COVID scare

Australian vaulter Kurtis Marschall. Jason McCawley/Getty Images

Australia's Olympic track and field team has been cleared for competition following a COVID-19 scare involving U.S. pole vaulter Sam Kendricks.

Kendricks tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, and three Australian athletes were deemed to be close contacts - including fellow pole vaulter Kurtis Marschall. All three close contacts have since tested negative, according to the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).

Fifty-four of Australia's track and field athletes and staff were plunged into a snap lockdown after word of Kendricks' positive test became official.

"All three (close contacts) tested negative after undergoing a PCR Test this afternoon, while teammates remained in their rooms in line with AOC COVID protocols," the AOC statement said.

"The three, who are all vaccinated, self-reported once they heard news of the US athlete testing positive late this morning. All daily tests of the trio in the Village had also returned negative results.

"All members of the Australian Team at the Tokyo Games are tested daily."

Australia's chef de mission Ian Chesterman said the AOC's decision to isolate the track and field team went beyond the measures recommended by Olympic organisers.

"Once again, abundant caution and our strict protocols continue to keep the Team safe. We will continue to be very thorough in our observance of the Tokyo playbooks and our own additional measures," Chesterman said in the statement.

"We want every Australian athlete to be in a position to have their Olympic moment. We will continue to be vigilant."