Guinea becomes the second country to withdraw from the Olympics

The decision of the African country will prevent five athletes from competing in the Tokyo Games. North Korea is the only other country that has withdrawn from the Olympics.

CONAKRY, Guinea – The African country of Guinea withdrew from this year’s Olympics, preventing five athletes from competing in the Tokyo Games.

Sports Minister Sanoussy Bantama Sow made the announcement in a letter to the president of the Guinean Olympic committee on Wednesday, blaming the virus and its variants.

“Due to the resurgence of COVID variants, the government, concerned about preserving the health of Guinean athletes, has regretfully decided to cancel Guinea’s participation in the 32 Olympic Games scheduled for Tokyo,” the statement said.

Just days before the statement, Guinea’s Olympic Committee Secretary General Ben Daouda Nassoko told The Associated Press that funds had just been released for the delegation to go to Tokyo.

Freestyle wrestler Fatoumata Yarie Camara was one of five athletes affected by the decision.

“The question I ask myself is why Guinea has decided not to participate in the Olympic Games because of the coronavirus when the organizing country like Japan has not canceled these Games because of this disease,” he told the AP. “Why? That’s what I ask myself and I still can’t find an answer.”

The other Guinean athletes are swimmers Mamadou Tahirou Bah and Fatoumata Lamarana Touré, 100-meter runner Aissata Deen Conte, and judo competitor Mamadou Samba Bah.

Guinea has participated in the Olympics 11 times, but has never won a medal. North Korea is the only other country to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics, also citing coronavirus-related concerns.

RELATED: North Korea Withdraws From Tokyo Olympics, Citing COVID

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