Russia’s Ilya Borodin, winner of gold in the 400 meter medley at the 2021 European Championships, says he has “accepted the situation” after being told he won’t be competing in Tokyo after testing positive for Covid-19.
Russian Olympics Committee President Stanislav Pozdnyakov confirmed that Borodin will be absent from Russia’s delegation to the Japanese capital on Wednesday, saying in a statement: “It is sincerely a shame that Ilya Borodin will have to miss the Olympics because of a positive Covid test.
“I wish him good health and a speedy recovery. It’s a loss for the team and unfortunate for Ilya.
“At the same time, it is upsetting that the stringent measures taken at the final stage of the team’s preparation in Vladivostok did not provide the desired result.”
News of Borodin’s Covid-mandated absence was confirmed to the TASS news agency by the first vice-president of the All-Russian Swimming Federation Viktor Avdienko, who said: “Borodin has a positive PCR test. All the rules were observed, he was immediately isolated, he had no contacts. The rest of the team was tested, we all have two negative tests.”
Avdienko also confirmed that the remainder of the team is due to fly to Tokyo on Thursday.
The loss of the Borodin is a seismic one for the Russian Olympic team, with the 18-year-old European champion considered one of the country’s best medal hopes – but in his first comments following the news he will be forced to miss his first-ever Olympics, Borodin appeared to take the news in his stride.
“In terms of health, I feel good, I have no symptoms and no painful sensations, I am in excellent condition,” he said to Match TV.
“I cannot even imagine where I could have picked up an infection, no one knows this. We basically did not walk anywhere, we walked a little in Vladivostok on Sunday and that’s it, I never went anywhere further than the hotel and the pool. I just have no idea where and how I caught the coronavirus.
“I learned about the positive test in the evening and took it uneasily. If you called me last night, I would not be able to say anything, today I have already accepted this situation.”
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The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has already caused havoc for the Olympics, forcing its postponement from last summer with ongoing concerns even leading organizers to suggest that entire event could potentially be cancelled at the eleventh hour.
Cases of Covid-19 have risen in Tokyo in recent weeks and with the Japanese city remaining in a state of emergency ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony, plans were recently shelved to allow small sets of fans attend various events – with these now set to take place in empty stadia.
According to the AP, as of Tuesday 71 cases of Covid-19 had been recognized among people linked to the Olympics in Japan since the beginning of July – with recent opinion polls suggesting that as much as 80% of the Japanese populace disapproved with the Olympics proceeding amid the worsening Covid-19 situation.