The International Olympic Committee was under fire on Wednesday following the revelation that two Turkish boxers and their head coach tested positive for coronavirus on returning home from the Olympic qualifying tournament in London last week.
Eyup Gozgec, president of the Turkish Boxing Federation, said all three had caught Covid-19 in London and that the Road To Tokyo event at the Copper Box Arena should have been postponed. The qualifying tournament bringing together 350 fighters from 40 countries was called off three days into the 11-day event.
“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,” said Gozgec. “It was irresponsible. And as a result, unfortunately three of our team have now tested positive.”
Franco Falcinelli, the European Boxing Confederation president, had even warned that the risk of a boxer contracting the virus was “very high”. Gozgec will make a formal complaint to the IOC, with further reports that medical precautions both at the venue and at the hotel where the fighters stayed appeared inadequate.
“Unfortunately, two of our athletes and our Turkish head coach have tested positive for the new type Covid-19 coronavirus after returning to Turkey from London,” Gozgec told The Guardian.
“All of them are in treatment now and thankfully they are in good condition. 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.”
The IOC are yet to comment on the situation.
Former world champion and Athens Games silver medallist Amir Khan urging the public to “stay safe” said that he is prepared to give over a new centre his company has built in Bolton for weddings and receptions to the NHS as a makeshift medical emergency centre due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am aware of how difficult it is for the public to get a hospital bed in this tragic time. I am prepared to give my 60,000 square foot 4 story building which is due to be a wedding hall and retail outlet to the NHS UK to help people affected by the coronavirus,” wrote the boxer yesterday on his social media platforms.