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Tokyo Olympics: Guinea reverses its decision to withdraw from Games

“Guinea will participate in the Tokyo Olympics. It was not a question of finances,” Minister of Sport Sanoussy Bantama Sow told BBC Afrique.

“We were simply caring about the life of our Guineans. We spoke with the organizers and they told us they will do everything to make sure our athletes will be safe.”

On Wednesday Sow had said that: “Due to the rise in cases of Covid-19 variants, the government, out of concern for the health of the Guinean athletes, has regretfully decided to cancel their participation.”

The Guinean delegation, which is yet to travel, was to feature five competitors – one apiece in athletics, judo and wrestling while two were set for the swimming programme.

Swimmer Mariama Toure is the first of the team in action she is due to race in the first heat of the women’s 100m breaststroke on Sunday evening, judoka Mamadou Samba is due to compete the following day.

This is the second case of an entire team being withdrawn from the delayed Games in Tokyo, after North Korea did the same in April.

Elsewhere, there was better news for six players from Kenya women’s rugby sevens team who are expected to come out of a 14-day Covid quarantine in time for their first match against New Zealand on 29 July.

“Until yesterday, they were confined in a government facility where they weren’t able to train,” Kenya’s Chef de mission Waithaka Kioni told BBC Sport Africa on Thursday. “But they have now come to the village. Each has a room individually.”

“The girls have been returning negative Covid tests and that is encouraging that no player tested positive. But because one passenger in their flight tested positive and they were judged as close contacts, they had to quarantine for 14 days.”

Team Kenya arrived in Japan early to acclimatise in the city of Kurume prior to moving into the athletes’ village earlier this week.

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