Guinea withdraws from Olympics, citing COVID-19

Guinea withdraws from Olympics, citing COVID-19
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Guinea announced Thursday it is withdrawing its team from the Tokyo Olympics, citing COVID-19 concerns, The Associated Press reported.

In a letter to the president of the Guinean Olympic Committee (GOC), Guinea’s minister of sports, Sanoussy Bantama Sow, blamed the recent rises of the delta variant cases as their reason why the African nation would remove its team from the Games.

“Due to the resurgence of COVID variants, the government, concerned with preserving the health of Guinean athletes, has decided with regret to cancel Guinea’s participation in the 32nd Olympics scheduled for Tokyo,” Sow said in his statement.

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One of the five athletes representing Guinea in the Olympics, freestyle wrestler Fatoumata Yarie Camara, told the newswire that she doesn’t understand why Guinea can’t compete in the event given other nations are taking part.

“The question I ask myself is why has Guinea decided not to participate in the Olympic Games on the grounds of coronavirus when the organizing country like Japan hasn’t canceled these Games because of this sickness,” Camara said. “Why? That’s what I ask myself and I still can’t find an answer.”

Guinea is the second country to withdraw from the Olympics, following North Korea, which pulled out due to COVID-19 concerns as well, the AP reported. 

There has been growing concern about the health and safety of athletes during the two-week duration of the event, with the head of the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee saying the committee won’t rule canceling the games entirely. 

The Czech Republic's Olympic Committee shared on Thursday that three of their athletes have tested positive for the virus after arriving in Tokyo.