The African country of Guinea withdrew from this year’s Olympics, barring five athletes from competing in the Tokyo Games.
Sports Minister Sanoussy Bantama Sow made the announcement in a letter to the president of the Guinean Olympic Committee on Wednesday, blaming the virus and its variants.
“Due to the resurgence of COVID variants, the government, anxious to preserve the health of Guinean athletes, has decided with regret to cancel Guinea’s participation in the 32nd Olympic Games scheduled for Tokyo,” the statement said.
Just days before the statement, the secretary general of the Guinean Olympic committee, Ben Daouda Nassoko, told The Associated Press that funds had just been released for the delegation to travel to Tokyo.
Fatoumata Yarie Camara, a freestyle wrestler, was one of five athletes affected by the decision.
“The question I ask myself is why Guinea decided not to participate in the Olympic Games because of coronavirus while the organizing country like Japan did not cancel these Games because of this disease,” he said. she told the AP. “Why? That’s what I’m wondering and I still can’t find an answer.
The other Guinean athletes are the swimmers Mamadou Tahirou Bah and Fatoumata Lamarana Touré, the 100-meter runner Aissata Deen Conte and the judoka Mamadou Samba Bah.
Guinea has participated in the Olympics 11 times but has never won a medal. North Korea is the only other country to have pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics, also citing concerns over the coronavirus.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up to become a Founding Member and help shape the next chapter of HuffPost