The five athletes from Guinea qualified for the Tokyo Olympics will ultimately not participate in the Olympic competition which begins on Friday. The Minister of Sports justifies this decision by a health reason while some evoke a financial problem.
Guinea, which was to send a delegation of five athletes to the Tokyo Olympic Games, canceled its participation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Minister of Sports announced on Wednesday July 21.
A source close to the government of Conakry for his part mentioned financial problems to justify the renunciation of this poor West African country, two days before the opening ceremony.
>> Read also: Tokyo Games: Africa’s main medal hopes
“Due to the resurgence of variants of Covid-19”, the government, “concerned with preserving the health of Guinean athletes, has decided with regret to cancel Guinea’s participation”, wrote the Minister of Sports, Sanoussy Bantama Sow, in a letter addressed to the president of the Guinean Olympic Committee that AFP was able to consult.
Eleven athletes had to leave
“The file has been overcharged, that’s why the ministry cannot pay,” a source close to the government who requested anonymity told AFP, however, without giving further details.
For its part, the Guinean press evoked on Wednesday evening unpaid premiums.
Guinea, which has never won a medal in 11 appearances at the Olympic Games, was to send to Tokyo Fatoumata Yarie Camara (freestyle wrestling), Mamadou Samba Bah (judo), Fatoumata Lamarana Touré and Mamadou Tahirou Bah (swimming) and Aïssata Deen Conté (athletics, women’s 100m).
Before Guinea, North Korea had announced in April that it would not participate in the Tokyo Olympics to “protect” its athletes from any risk linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
Softball and football kicked off the sporting events on Wednesday, which will take place under very strict conditions. The boss of the World Health Organization (WHO) recalled that “the race against the virus” of Covid-19 was still not won.