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Guinea rescinds decision to pull out of Tokyo Olympics

By Otiato Opali in Nairobi, Kenya | | Updated: 2021-07-23 20:11
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General view inside the stadium before the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan, July 23, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Guinea's five participants in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will make it to the Games after all. This was after the West African country annulled an earlier decision to pull out of the Tokyo Games due to fears of the coronavirus and its variants.

On Thursday, Sanoussy Bantama Sow, Guinea's minister of sports, confirmed that the country had taken into consideration national and international outcry that followed the earlier declaration to boycott the Games.

"I have 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," Sow said in a statement.

Earlier, the sports minister had written a letter to the president of the Guinean Olympic Committee on Wednesday, pointing to the rise in coronavirus cases, particularly of the Delta variant, as the reason the African nation withdrew from the Games.

"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 32nd Olympics scheduled for Tokyo," Sow had said in the letter.

However, a meeting between Guinea's Olympic Committee and the sports ministry early on Thursday led to the reversal of the ban. This was after the athletes who were supposed to travel to the Games added their voice to the outcry against the ban, claiming that other participating countries' athletes were not deterred by the pandemic.

Guinea will send five athletes to compete in the Games, including swimmers Mamadou Tahirou Bah and Fatoumata Lamarana Toure, 100-meter runner Aissata Deen Conte, judo competitor Mamadou Samba Bah Fatoumata ,and Yarie Camara, a freestyle wrestler.

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