Olympics hit by Covid chaos as two athletes test positive in Village

Olympics is hit by Covid chaos as two athletes test positive in Olympic Village while head of IOC Refugee Team and South African footballers also catch virus

  • Two unnamed athletes tested positive while staying in the Olympic Village
  • Three members of South African football squad also recorded positive tests
  • Member of the  IOC’s Refugee Olympic Team also caught Covid, said organisers
  • This is understood to be ICO chief and former distance runner Tegla Loroupe
  • Find out the latest Tokyo Olympic news including schedule, medal table and results right here

The Olympic Village has been plunged into chaos after two athletes tested positive for the virus in Tokyo.

Olympic organisers revealed the news on Sunday, saying that the unnamed individuals were from the same country and compete in the same sport.

They are the first athletes in the village to be reported positive, adding to the uncertainty around the Tokyo Olympics that are to open on Friday after being delayed a year by the pandemic.

It comes as two South African footballers also recorded positive Covid tests while a member of IOC’s Refugee Olympic Team has also caught the virus.  

Former distance runner Tegla Loroupe, the chief of mission for the IOC’s Refugee Olympic Team, is reported to be the IOC athlete who tested positive.

The result is understood to have been recorded before the team was to depart its Doha, Qatar, training base for Tokyo. 

It forced the IOC team to delay its arrival in Tokyo where the Olympics open on Friday.

Two athletes tested positive for Covid in the Olympic Village, while three members of the South African football squad (pictured waiting for tests) also recorded positive tests

Former distance runner Tegla Loroupe, the chief of mission for the IOC’s Refugee Olympic Team, is reported to be the IOC athlete who tested positive

The International Olympic Committee issued a statement several days ago and said only that an unnamed ‘official’ returned a positive test in the Refugee Team delegation. 

But Anne-Sophie Thilo, a press spokesperson for the team, declined to confirm the identity of the IOC Olympic team who tested positive.

Three members of South Africa’s football squad also tested positive for the virus, and were named as players Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi.

Video Analyst Mario Masha was also among the trio and tested positive on arrival in Tokyo as the team prepares to face hosts Japan on Thursday.     

‘We have three positive cases of COVID-19 in the camp here, two players and an official,’ team manager Mxolisi Sibam said in a media release from the South African Football Association on Sunday.

‘There is daily screening….Masha and Monyane reported high temperatures and positive saliva tests, and were then taken to do the nasal test…and they unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19. 

‘Mahlatsi is the latest player to go through the same process.’

He said as a result, the team has been quarantined until cleared to train, waiting for results from tests earlier on Sunday.

‘This unfortunate situation has made us miss our first intensive training session last night.’

The two atletes in the Village are the first  to be reported positive, adding to the uncertainty around the Games

The Olympics are to open on Friday after being delayed a year by the pandemic (stock image)

The footballers and Loroupe’s positive tests are one in a long line of athletes, team officials, and others who have tested positive for Covid. 

Loroupe is a two-time winner of the New York City marathon, and in the late 90s she was a force from 10,000 meters through the marathon distance. 

Declining to confirm the name, Ms Thilo said most of the team will be in Tokyo in the next few days. The 26 athletes in Doha and other officials had tested negative.

‘If everything goes right, the whole team of athletes and coaches will be in Tokyo on Tuesday,’ she said. 

The Refugee Olympic Team has been heavily promoted by the IOC, a humanitarian gesture that was introduced five years ago at the Rio Olympics in the form of a 10-member team. 

The team for Tokyo is to be twice as large and has been the focus of promotion, partially to counteract opposition in Japan to the Olympics and generate some goodwill.

The IOC would not confirm it was Loroupe that tested positive.

‘You will appreciate that we are not in a position to provide names without the approval of the individuals concerned,’ the IOC said in a statement to the AP, who reported that it was Loroupe who tested positive.

‘However, we can confirm that the team members are able to train in Qatar, and we are looking at the next steps. We will provide information once decisions have been taken.’

In a statement earlier in the week, the IOC said the official who tested positive was isolated by Qatari public authorities and is considered asymptomatic.

The Qatari government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Qatar has reported over 223,000 cases of the coronavirus and nearly 600 deaths.


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