Olympic swimmers relocated from Melbourne

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A group of Australia's potential Olympic swimmers have been moved from Melbourne to prevent the city's coronavirus outbreak jeopardising selection trials for the looming Tokyo Games.

Some 27 swimmers and coaches including reigning Olympic 400-metre freestyle champion Mack Horton have left Melbourne for the Gold Coast.

The swimmers, in contention for the Olympics and Paralympics, could remain in Queensland until the Games selection trials in Adelaide from June 12.

A Swimming Australia spokeswoman said the athletes were relocated on Wednesday, ahead of Victoria's seven-day lockdown from midnight Thursday amid a worsening COVID-19 outbreak.

Athletics Australia (AA) also relocated Victorian-based athletes to Queensland ahead of an Olympic warm-up meet on the Gold Coast next week.

"AA's high performance team started to relocate athletes to Queensland from Monday onwards, and are continuing to assist a number of athletes to move out of Melbourne to Queensland today before lockdown begins," AA said.

"Most of them are now out, but there's still a lot to work through."

A scheduled throws invitational for discus and shot put athletes in Geelong this weekend was postponed.

An Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) spokesman said any decision on relocating athletes from Victoria was being left to authorities from respective sports.

The Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 with Australia's athletes in the process of receiving coronavirus vaccinations.

Australia's Olympic softball squad will be among the first overseas athletes to arrive in Tokyo.

The softballers will depart Sydney as scheduled on Monday and land in Tokyo on June 1 for a six-week camp in Ota, about 80 kilometres north-west of Japan's capital.

No member of the 23-strong softball squad originated from Melbourne, the AOC spokesman said.

Domestic Australian sports were grappling with the Victorian outbreak with the AFL chiefly impacted.

The AFL moved two games: Gold Coast's clash with Hawthorn was switched from Darwin to Sydney, while Richmond's match against Adelaide was transferred from the MCG to Sydney.

Two AFL clubs - Carlton and Essendon - departed Melbourne on Wednesday for Sydney and Perth respectively to avoid being trapped by travel restrictions.

In the NRL, Melbourne will remain at their Sunshine Coast facility in Queensland after Thursday night's game against Brisbane.

The Storm were initially planned to return to Melbourne post-game after having been based on the Sunshine Coast for the past two weeks.

In soccer, Saturday night's A-League clash between premiers Melbourne City and Newcastle at Melbourne's AAMI Park has been postponed.

And Friday night's fixture between Western United and Melbourne Victory at the same venue will be played behind closed doors with a decision within 48 hours on Monday night's scheduled game between Western United and Macarthur, also slated for AAMI Park.

Rugby union officials shifted Melbourne Rebels' Super Rugby Trans-Tasman clash with the Highlanders from New Zealand to Sydney.

And Super Netball officials ordered the Collingwood Magpies and Giants out of Melbourne on Thursday ahead of the lockdown.

The Magpies left for Sydney and the Giants, who had been in Melbourne since last Sunday, flew to Perth - a day after the Melbourne Vixens flew to Queensland.

In basketball, the NBL rescheduled some round 20 matches while the Supercars' Winton Supersprint, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in northern Victoria, has been postponed until May 31 and August 1.

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