Guinea will send athletes to the Olympics in Tokyo this summer after reportedly reversing a decision to withdraw from the sporting spectacular due to coronavirus fears.
Minister of Sport Sanoussy Bantama Sow had announced on Wednesday that the West African nation would not be represented at the delayed Games, citing fears over athletes’ health.
“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,” Sow had said.
That decision seemed set to scupper the hopes of the nation’s five Olympians, who were due to compete in athletics, judo, wrestling and swimming.
However, according to the BBC, Guinea will now send a delegation to the Tokyo Games.
“Guinea will participate in the Tokyo Olympics. It was not a question of finances,” said Sports Minister Sow.
The apparent U-turn means North Korea remains the sole nation to pull out of the Games entirely, after Pyongyang announced the move in April over Covid-19 fears.
Assuming they do actually travel to Japan, Guinea’s competitors at the Games will be swimmers Mamadou Tahirou Bah and Fatoumata Lamarana Toure, 100m runner Aissata Deen Conte, judo competitor Mamadou Samba Bah, and freestyle wrestler Fatoumata Yarie Camara.
The Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony is on Friday, with the Games running until August 8.