IOC ac­cused af­ter box­ers test pos­i­tive for Covid-19

The Guardian - - Sport - Ex­clu­sive Sean In­gle

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.