Athletics

Team GB Olympic Athlete Investigated For Fake COVID Test Result

Team GB Olympic Athlete Investigated For Fake COVID Test Result

5k runner Andrew Butchart was put under investigation by Team GB for falsifying a COVID test result - just 33 minutes after he found out he was in the squad for the Olympics.

The runner from Dunblane now has his spot in Tokyo under threat, after comments he made on the running podcast The Sunday Plodcast caught the attention of Team GB (the episode of the podcast has since been deleted).

Butchart's comments surrounded his return to the UK from a race abroad, and he appeared to suggest he had presented a fake negative COVID test result in order to get around the quarantine restrictions.

I’m not going to get in trouble from the police or anything like that. You have to get a Covid test to get into the UK, so you went to a place to get a PCR test before 48 hours – and I’m with check-in and I don’t have my PCR test back.

So you have to quickly, like, get an old PCR test, go on to Instagram, fucking scribble out the time and the date, change the time and the date, and change it so you can get into the country. Obviously Covid is huge but it’s quite annoying.

Everybody has faked PCR tests, I’m sure, to try and go somewhere, because it’s just so hard.

He now faces a worrying few days, as Team GB and UK Athletics investigate whether or not Butchart did in fact falsify his COVID result.

The head of UK Athletics, Christian Malcolm, spoke ominously on what might happen to Butchart. The Guardian quoted Malcolm suggesting that Butchart's place on the UK athletics team for Tokyo could well be in doubt.

We take this matter very seriously. We’ve just got to wait for what the investigation is, and whatever the consequences – if it doesn’t work in his favour – will be. But all options are on the table at the moment.

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As the investigation goes on, Butchart has moved pretty quickly to try and cover his tracks, but it looks like the damage has already been done. He was interviewed by the Times on Tuesday and said that he had "never" faked a test, but had heard of others doing so.

He then released a statement later that evening.

I have never falsified a PCR test and have always complied with the guidelines of the countries I have been travelling in.

I perhaps glorified the situation for the podcast but I apologise if it came across the wrong way or caused any offence to anyone.

With the ever-present threat of COVID - and the tense relationship between host nation Japan and their holding of the Olympics, Butchart's comments were a bit thick to say the least.

Team GB have to finalise their squad by July 7, and it will be fascinating to see whether Butchart ends up on the plane to Tokyo.

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