Olympic athletes assured they will be able to compete if deemed close Covid contacts

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Team GB stars have been assured they will not be banished from the Tokyo Olympics if they are identified as close contacts of a positive Covid case.

Unease has been growing in the Olympic Village after six members of the British athletics team were ordered to self-isolate this week.

But the International Olympic Committee has issued a clarification that any athletes deemed a close contact will still be able to train and compete provided they continue to submit negative PCR tests.

Team GB Chef de Mission Mark England said: "This is a rule that was presented to everybody only in the last 48 hours by the IOC and Tokyo 2020.

"Any athlete in the Olympic Games that has been contacted for track-and-trace and is isolating, as long as they presenting negative tests… they are allowed to enter the field of play."

(Image: Getty Images)

The news will come as a relief to the six athletes, who have been able to continue training at the Team GB preparation camp in Yokohama, albeit being otherwise restricted to their individual rooms where they must also take their meals.

England expressed confidence in the team's "robust" protocols, on the day that a Chilean taekwondo player and a Dutch skateboarder became the first athletes to be definitively ruled out of the Games after submitting positive tests.

While athletes deemed close contacts are able to effectively continue training and competing as normal, those who test positive are required to spend a mandatory 10 days in isolation, which is likely to rule the majority out of competition.

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England added: "We are a couple of days away from the opening ceremony and not one of those athletes, not one of the support staff, not one of the personnel engaging with Team GB has tested positive.

"So there should be huge confidence in our Covid mitigation measures, the testing regime that we adhere to, to not only support our Team GB but also the Japanese people and volunteers.

"We want everyone back home to buckle up. It won't be an easy ride but it will be exciting and there will be some memories that I'm sure will live long."

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