Guinea Reverses Decision to Drop Out of Tokyo Olympics Ahead of Opening Ceremony

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Olympic rings
Olympic rings

Carl Court/Getty

Guinea, a country in West Africa, has decided not to pull out of the Tokyo Olympics after all.

On Thursday, shortly after Guinea said they would be dropping out just days before the Opening Ceremony due to mounting COVID-19 concerns, they reversed their decision.

"The Minister of State, Minister of Sports has the true pleasure of informing the people of Guinea and the whole sports family, that the government, after obtaining guarantees from the health authorities, agrees to the participation of our athletes in the 32nd Olympics in Tokyo," Minister of Sports Sanoussy Bantama Sow said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.

Late Wednesday, Guinea previously said they would not be attending.

"Due to the resurgence of COVID variants, the government, concerned with preserving the health of Guinean athletes, has decided with regret to cancel Guinea's participation in the 32nd Olympics scheduled for Tokyo," Sow wrote to the president of the Guinean Olympic committee at the time.

Guinea sent five athletes — including freestyle wrestler Fatoumata Yarie Camara — to compete in the Games, which were postponed from their original date in 2020 due to the pandemic.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Tokyo 2020 Olympics

CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Tokyo Summer Olympics logo

While COVID-19 cases have declined from their peak during the holiday season, the dangerous respiratory disease remains a serious public health issue. In the United States, the number of positive COVID-19 tests has increased by 171 percent over the last two weeks, according to a New York Times database. Hospitalizations have also increased by 49 percent over the same time period.

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Guinea is averaging 82 new cases a day with only 2.2 percent of its population vaccinated, the outlet added.

On Wednesday, Team USA Volleyball player Taylor Crabb tested positive for COVID-19 and was replaced by a teammate. United States women's gymnastics alternate Kara Eaker also tested positive while in an Olympic training camp.

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Additionally, tennis player Coco Gauff, 17, withdrew from the Olympics on Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19. According to NBC News, nearly 80 people connected to the Games have tested positive for COVID-19 at the event so far.

To learn more about Team USA, visit Watch the Tokyo Olympics beginning July 23rd and the Tokyo Paralympics beginning August 24th on NBC.