The British Olympic Association is resigned to the fact that six Team GB athletes will spend 14 days in enforced quarantine after failing in its attempts to spring them out.
Hugh Robertson, the BOA chair, said they had been working “on an hourly basis” to help the athletes in Yokohama, as well as four staff members who were also pinged as close contacts of a passenger with Covid on their flight to Japan. However, Robertson conceded they were now “right up against it”. All the athletes and staff members involved have tested negative for the virus.
“We’ve tried the various committees, we’ve tried direct approaches, we’ve been at it through the IOC,” said Robertson. “I’d be lying if I said at the moment that we’re very confident we’re going to get a whole lot of movement. But at least they can train, and at least we have a roadmap to get them to the start line in order to compete at their events.
“I think where we have succeeded in the things we’ve managed to do – where some others haven’t – is to get a concession from the local authority in Yokohama that, even though they are in quarantine, they can actually train. There are athletes around the world who are just sitting in their hotel rooms. At least ours can get out. They can train.”
Robertson also expressed sympathy for the steeplechaser Zak Seddon, who admitted he was struggling mentally after spending the past week in his room at the UK Athletics camp, and the other five athletes who have been affected.
“I know it’s rotten for them,” he said. “It’s incredibly difficult, but at least they can get down to the stadium and train and spend a reasonable amount of the day down there. They’re in a better position than some others. But in terms of getting the quarantine lifted, moving to a different system, we’re right up against it with that.”
Meanwhile the UK Sport chief executive, Sally Munday, expressed her sadness that the British shooter Amber Hill had been forced to pull out after contracting Covid. “The number one priority for us is how we are taking care of Amber,” she said. “And how is the sport able to support her at what is absolutely a devastating time for her after the training that she’s done. When I heard that news, it just left me cold.”