Guinea has decided not to send its delegation to the 2020 Olympics here due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been announced.
A total of five athletes were set to represent the West African nation at the Games that open tomorrow against the backdrop of the global health crisis.
But Guinea’s Sports Minister Sanoussy Bantama Sow has announced that the country will not participate due to a “resurgence of COVID-19 variants”.
Sow explained the decision in a letter to the president of the National Olympic and Sports Committee of Guinea, Nabi Camara, according to a report by Media agency France.
“Due to the resurgence of COVID-19 variants, the government concerned with protecting the health of Guinean athletes has regretfully decided to cancel Guinea’s participation in the Tokyo Olympics,” Sow wrote.
However, it has also been reported that the decision to withdraw the team is due to financial constraints, with a source close to the government claiming that “the ministry cannot pay”.
Wrestler Fatoumata Yarie Camara, judoka Mamadou Samba Bah, swimmers Fatoumata Lamarana Toure and Mamadou Tahirou Bah and sprinter Aissata Deen Conte would compete for Guinea in Tokyo 2020.
Guinea has competed in 11 Olympics since its debut in Mexico City in 1968, but has never won a medal.
During Rio 2016, Guinea sent a team of five athletes competing in three sports.
It will be the first time that Guinea has not participated in the Games since Montreal 1976.
Guinea’s withdrawal comes after North Korea announced in April that it would not attend Tokyo 2020, citing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus has dominated the run-up to the Games, with the number of positive cases linked to the Olympics rising to 82 since July 1.
Chilean taekwondo athlete Fernanda Aguirre, Dutch skateboarder Candy Jacobs and Czech table tennis player Pavel Iruek have been banned from participating in the Games after contracting the coronavirus.
Yesterday, Tokyo reported 1,832 new COVID-19 cases, the seventh time this month that the number has surpassed 1,000.
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