Guinea reverses decision to pull out of Tokyo Olympics after IOC weighs in
23 July, 2021, 1:25 pm
The West African country of Guinea has reversed an earlier decision to pull out of the Olympics and will send a delegation of five athletes to the Tokyo Games.
Minister of Sports Sanoussy Bantama Sow made the announcement on Thursday after national and international outcries that followed an earlier declaration that Guinea would not send athletes to Tokyo, blaming the coronavirus and its variants.
“The Minister of State, Minister of Sports has the true pleasure of informing the people of Guinea and the whole sports family, that the government, after obtaining guarantees from the health authorities, agrees to the participation of our athletes in the 32nd Olympics in Tokyo,” the minister said in a statement.
Guinea had announced late Wednesday that it was cancelling its participation to protect the health of its athletes.
However, the move sparked an immediate reaction from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which sent a letter to Guinea’s Olympic authorities on Thursday saying it was “extremely surprised” by the last-minute decision.
“We are convinced that this is a misunderstanding because you know all necessary measures have been taken by the IOC and Tokyo 2020 to guarantee the health of athletes and participants,” the letter read.
Only days before the statement, Guinean Olympic committee secretary general Ben Daouda Nassoko had told The Associated Press that funds had been released for the delegation to go to Tokyo.
Fatoumata Yarie Camara, a freestyle wrestler, was one of the five athletes affected by the decision.