The Republic of Guinea, which was to send a small delegation of five athletes to the Tokyo Olympic Games, decided to cancel their participation due to covid-19, the Sports Minister of the African country announced on Wednesday.
A source close to the government of the capital Conakry raised financial problems to justify the resignation of this poor West African country two days before the opening ceremony, which will take place on Friday.
"Due to the recrudescence of variants of covid-19," the government, "concerned about protecting the health of Guinean athletes, decided with regret to cancel Guinea's participation" in the Tokyo Games, wrote the Minister of Sports, Sanoussy Bantama Sow, in a letter addressed to the president of the Guinean Olympic Committee to which the AFP had access.
"There was an extra cost in the file, so the ministry cannot pay," a source close to the government told AFP, who preferred to remain anonymous, and did not offer further details.
The country's press evoked on Wednesday problems of non-payment of premiums.
Guinea, which failed to achieve a single medal in its 11 appearances at the Olympic Games, was to send Fatoumata Yarie Camara (wrestling), Mamadou Samba Bah (judo), Fatoumata Lamarana Touré and Mamadou Tahirou Bah (swimming) and Aïssata Deen to Tokyo I counted (athletics, women's 100m).
Before Guinea, North Korea had already announced in April that it would not participate in the Tokyo Games to protect its athletes from all risks linked to the coronavirus pandemic.