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Guinea withdraws from Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Post created on July 22, 2021

Fellow West African country, Guinea has cancelled its participation in the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday due to the Covid-19 pandemic, after the country’s sports minister’s announcement.

Minister of Sports, Sanoussy Bantama Sow, wrote in a letter addressed to the president of the Guinean Olympic Committee that was seen by AFP,

“Due to the resurgence of Covid-19 variants, the government, concerned with preserving the health of Guinean athletes, has decided with regret to cancel Guinea’s participation in the Tokyo Olympics,”

However, according to a report by Guardian Nigeria, a source close to the government in Conakry said that the decision not to send its five-person team was a consequence of financial constraints.

The source insisted, however, that the decision, taken just two days out from the opening ceremony in Tokyo, was because the “the ministry cannot pay” the costs.

Guinean media also claimed the withdrawal was financial rather than health-related for Guinea, which has never won a medal in 11 appearances at the Olympics.

The five-strong team comprised Fatoumata Yarie Camara (freestyle wrestling), Mamadou Samba Bah (judo), Fatoumata Lamarana Toure and Mamadou Tahirou Bah (swimming) and Aissata Deen Conte (athletics, women’s 100m).

Guinea has competed in 11 Olympics since making its debut at Mexico City 1968, but it has never won a medal.

At Rio 2016, Guinea sent a team of five athletes competing in three sports.

It will be the first time 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 over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus has dominated the build-up to the Games with the number of positive cases linked to the Olympics since July 1 climbing to 82.

Chilean taekwondo athlete Fernanda Aguirre, Dutch skateboarder Candy Jacobs and Czech table tennis player Pavel Širuček have been ruled out of the Games after contracting coronavirus.

Yesterday, Tokyo reported 1,832 new COVID-19 cases, the seventh time this month that the number has exceeded 1,000.

North Korea announced in April that it would not participate in the Tokyo Olympics to “protect” its athletes from any risk linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

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