Guinea reverses decision to pull out of Olympics over COVID-19 concerns

By Kyle Barnett & Connor Grott
Guinea reverses decision to pull out of Olympics over COVID-19 concerns
Pedestrians take photos of the countdown clock for the Summer Olympics at Tokyo Station on Thursday. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

July 22 (UPI) -- The African nation of Guinea has reversed an earlier decision to pull out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and will send a delegation of five athletes to Japan.

Minister of Sports Sanoussy Bantama Sow made the announcement Thursday, a day after Guinea became the second country to withdraw from the Olympics due to COVID-19.


Guinea announced late Wednesday that it was canceling its participation in the Summer Games to protect the health of its athletes. The announcement from the West African nation came only two days before Friday's Opening Ceremony.

"The Minister of State, Minister of Sports has the true pleasure of informing the people of Guinea and the whole sports family, that the government, after obtaining guarantees from the health authorities, agrees to the participation of our athletes in the 32nd Olympics in Tokyo," Sow said in a statement Thursday.

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The decision impacts five athletes, including freestyle wrestler Fatoumata Yarie Camara, runner Aissata Deen Conte, judo competitor Mamadou Samba Bah, as well as swimmers Mamadou Tahirou Bah and Fatoumata Lamarana Toure.

Tokyo will be Guinea's 12th appearance in the Games. In 11 Olympics, Guinea has failed to win any medals.


North Korea is the only country to pull out of the Games, also citing COVID-19 concerns. Japan marked its highest number of active COVID-19 cases since January.

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The country is under a state of emergency due to the virus until Aug. 22, after the Games conclude.

Outside spectators are banned from the Summer Games.

Several athletes have tested positive for COVID-19, including U.S. tennis star Cori "Coco" Gauff, who won't compete.

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U.S. volleyball player Taylor Crabb withdrew after catching the virus, and U.S. gymnast Kara Eaker is quarantining after testing positive.

In late June, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said he was confident in the country's ability to hold a safe Olympics.

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France goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni can't stop a goal from Mexico forward Uriel Antuna (not seen) in a Men's Group A soccer match during the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games on July 22. Photo by Bob Strong/UPI | License Photo

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