The International Olympic Committee have been criticised after a pair of Turkish boxers, as well as their coach, tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from a qualifier event in London.
The two athletes were taking part in the tournament in the UK last week, with places at the Tokyo Olympics up for grabs. Boxing was one of the few sports which continued to go ahead despite public health concerns.
While the Olympics have since been postponed, the Turkish boxers and their coach would test positive after returning to their home country. Eyup Gozgec, the president of the Turkish Boxing Federation, said that all three caught the virus in London and that the event never should have went ahead:
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.
It was irresponsible. And as a result, unfortunately three of our team have now tested positive.
The event, which according to The Guardian featured 350 fighters from 40 countries, was postponed three days in due to concerns over travel arrangements for those involved.
Franco Falcinelli, the European Boxing Confederation, president was also highly critical of the decision to go ahead with the event:
This is the disastrous result of the irresponsibility of the IOC taskforce.
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.
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