Guinea withdraws from Tokyo Olympics due to COVID-19

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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Tennis Training – Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan – July 19, 2021 An Olympic flag flies at Ariake Tennis Park REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

Guinea canceled its participation in the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the West African state’s sports minister announced.

However, a source close to the government in Conakry said the decision not to send the five-man team was a result of financial constraints.

“Due to the resurgence of COVID-19 variants, the government concerned with preserving the health of Guinean athletes has regretfully decided to cancel Guinea’s participation in the Tokyo Olympics,” said Sports Minister Sanoussy. Bantama Sow, in a letter addressed to the president of the Olympic Committee of Guinea seen by AFP.

However, a source insisted that the decision, made just two days after the opening ceremony in Tokyo, was because the “ministry cannot afford the costs”.

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

The team of five consisted of 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).

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

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