Guinea has pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics, citing a “resurgence of COVID variants”.
Guinean Minister of Sports Sanoussy Bantama Sow announced the pullout of five athletes of the country.
“Due to the resurgence of COVID-19 variants, the Government, concerned with preserving the health of Guinean athletes, has decided with regret to cancel Guinea’s participation in the Tokyo Olympics,” Sow was quoted as saying by insidethegames.com.
Wrestler Fatoumata Yarie Camara, judoka Mamadou Samba Bah, swimmers Fatoumata Lamarana Toure and Mamadou Tahirou Bah and sprinter Aissata Deen Conte were due to compete for the west African nation at the Olympics.
Guinea has competed in 11 Olympics since making its debut at Mexico City 1968, but it has never won a medal.
At Rio 2016, Guinea sent a team of five athletes competing in three sports.
It will be the first time Guinea has not participated in the Games since Montreal 1976.
Guinea’s withdrawal comes after North Korea announced in April that it would not attend Tokyo 2020, citing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus has dominated the build-up to the Games with the number of positive cases linked to the Olympics since July 1 climbing to 82.
Chilean taekwondo athlete Fernanda Aguirre, Dutch skateboarder Candy Jacobs and Czech table tennis player Pavel Širuček have been ruled out of the Games after contracting coronavirus.
Yesterday, Tokyo reported 1,832 new COVID-19 cases, the seventh time this month that the number has exceeded 1,000.