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Guinea backs down on Tokyo Olympics withdrawal

Guinea backs down on Tokyo Olympics withdrawal

The West African state of Guinea on Thursday said it was scrapping its decision to withdraw its five-person team from the Olympics, a move that it had said was prompted by worries over coronavirus.

“The government, after receiving assurances from the health authorities, is giving its agreement for our athletes to take part,” Sports Minister Sanoussy Bantama Sow said in a statement.

The move reverses a decision on Wednesday which cancelled the country’s participation in the Tokyo Olympics due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, a source close to the government in the capital Conakry had said that the decision not to send its five-person team stemmed from financial constraints.

“The ministry cannot pay,” the source had said.

Local media also had claimed financial rather than health motives prompted the withdrawal by Guinea, which has never won a medal in 11 appearances at the Olympics.

Guinea’s five-strong team comprises Fatoumata Yarie Camara (freestyle wrestling), Mamadou Samba Bah (judo), Fatoumata Lamarana Toure and Mamadou Tahirou Bah (swimming) and Aissata Deen Conte (athletics, women’s 100m).

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