Six British athletes self-isolating in Tokyo will be able to compete

Chilean taekwondo player and Dutch skateboarder first athletes to be ruled out

A Chilean taekwondo player and a Dutch skateboarder became the first athletes to be definitively ruled out of the Games after submitting positive tests. File photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images

A Chilean taekwondo player and a Dutch skateboarder became the first athletes to be definitively ruled out of the Games after submitting positive tests. File photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images

 

The British have been assured they will not be banished from the Tokyo Olympics if they are identified as close contacts of a positive Covid case.

Unease has been growing in the Olympic Village after six members of the British athletics team were ordered to self-isolate this week.

But the International Olympic Committee has issued a clarification that any athletes deemed a close contact will still be able to train and compete provided they continue to submit negative PCR tests.

The team’s Chef de Mission Mark England said: “This is a rule that was presented to everybody only in the last 48 hours by the IOC and Tokyo 2020.

“Any athlete in the Olympic Games that has been contacted for track-and-trace and is isolating, as long as they presenting negative tests . . . they are allowed to enter the field of play.”

The news will come as a relief to the six athletes, who have been able to continue training at the team preparation camp in Yokohama, albeit being otherwise restricted to their individual rooms where they must also take their meals.

England expressed confidence in the team’s “robust” protocols, on the day that a Chilean taekwondo player and a Dutch skateboarder became the first athletes to be definitively ruled out of the Games after submitting positive tests.

While athletes deemed close contacts are able to effectively continue training and competing as normal, those who test positive are required to spend a mandatory 10 days in isolation, which is likely to rule the majority out of competition.

England added: “We are a couple of days away from the opening ceremony and not one of those athletes, not one of the support staff, not one of the personnel engaging with Team GB has tested positive.

“So there should be huge confidence in our Covid mitigation measures, the testing regime that we adhere to, to not only support our Team GB but also the Japanese people and volunteers.

“We want everyone back home to buckle up. It won’t be an easy ride but it will be exciting and there will be some memories that I’m sure will live long.”

Dutch skateboarder Candy Jacobs expressed her heartache on Wednesday after testing positive for Covid-19, only taking solace in the fact that her teammates would still be able to compete.

“I am heartbroken,” she said on her Instagram account. “Luckily we’ve been following the protocols so my fellow skateboarders still get to shine bright.”

The Dutch Olympic team said Jacobs had been placed in a 10-day quarantine. In a statement, it added that its medical advisers have continuously been in contact with the athlete.

“It is Candy’s worst nightmare,” the delegation’s Chef de Mission Pieter van den Hoogenband said in the statement.

“TeamNL and Candy will do everything to respect the rules here and follow all the necessary instructions from Tokyo2020. We are very pleased that the rest of the team can continue in the Olympics,” he added.

Skateboarding is making its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

Jacobs started in the sport at age 13 after her mother dropped her off at a local skatepark. Now 31, the Dutch street rider was recovering from knee surgery earlier this year, which she said altered her ideas around the sport.

“We are the first generation to learn how an event of that scale can affect your perception of and approach to skateboarding,” she said last year.

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