IOC accused after boxers test positive for Covid-19
The International Olympic Committee has been accused of putting athletes’ health in jeopardy after two Turkish boxers and their head coach tested positive for coronavirus after returning home from an Olympic boxing tournament in London last week.
Eyup Gozgec, the president of the Turkish Boxing Federation, said all three had caught Covid-19 in London and that the Road To Tokyo event at the Copper Box Arena should have never taken place during a pandemic.
“While the whole world was taking extreme measures to deal with the virus, I am baffled that an IOC taskforce and the British government allowed the tournament to start even though many of us had concerns and almost every other sport had shut down,” he said. “It was irresponsible. And as a result, unfortunately three of our team have now tested positive.”
The Olympic boxing qualifying tournament in London – which featured around 350 fighters from 40 countries – was suspended after three days owing to concerns over the virus and the impact on athletes’ travel arrangements. But even while it was taking place, Franco Falcinelli, the European Boxing Confederation president, warned that the risk of a boxer contracting the virus was “very high”.
Gozgec, who is also the vice-president of the European Boxing Confederation, said he would be writing to the IOC to make a complaint, adding there were not enough medical precautions either at the venue or the hotel where the fighters stayed. He has also sent a letter to other federations, seen by the Guardian, in which he makes his frustrations clear.
“This virus has been around since December 2019. Therefore, it is inevitable to ask why the European qualification event was not postponed before it even took place? They did not consider anyone’s health, which led them to organise this horrible event.”
Gozgec also claimed the event had left the countries involved out of pocket. “While they requested a full upfront payment from all of us boxing federations in Europe for 15 days, they cancelled the events after three days.”
An IOC spokesman said: “For understandable reasons we will wait to receive the details from those concerned before making an informed comment.”
‘I am baffled an IOC taskforce allowed the tournament’ Eyup Gozgec
Turkish Boxing president