West African country Guinea has reversed an earlier decision to pull out of the Olympics and will send a delegation of five athletes to the Tokyo Games.
Sports Minister Sanousi Bantama So made the announcement on Thursday after a national and international uproar following an earlier announcement that Guinea would not send athletes to Tokyo, blaming the coronavirus and its variants.
“The Minister of State, Sports, is with great pleasure to inform the people of Guinea and the entire sports family that the government, after receiving guarantees from the health authorities, has agreed to the participation of our athletes in the 32nd Olympics in Tokyo. ”, the minister said in a statement.
Guinea announced late Wednesday that it was canceling its participation to protect the health of its athletes.
The statement came days before Guinea Olympic Committee Secretary General Ben Dauda Nasoko told the Associated Press that funds had been released to the delegation to fly to Tokyo.
Fatumata Yari Camara, a freestyle wrestler, was one of five athletes affected by the decision.
She confirmed through tears of joy that she would be leaving for Tokyo. He had earlier questioned the decision to exit.
“I ask myself the question why Guinea has decided not to participate in the Olympic Games because of the coronavirus, while an organizing country like Japan has not canceled these Games because of the disease,” she told the AP. “Why? That’s what I ask myself and I still can’t find an answer.”
Other Guinean athletes are swimmers Mamadou Tahirou Bah and Fatomata Lamarana Toure, 100m runner Aisata Din Conte and judo competitor Mamadou Samba Bah.
Guinea has participated in the Olympics 11 times but has never won a medal. North Korea is the only country to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics, citing concerns related to COVID-19.