“The system in Tokyo is unsustainable, we ask the IOC to protect athletes,” said the president of the Croatian Olympic Committee, Zlatko Mateša, after Matija Marinić, the first Croatian athlete to arrive in Tokyo for the Olympic Games, ended up in self-isolation, reports HRT.
The best Croatian whitewater canoeist came to Japan a week ago, and received the decision on Tuesday morning that he must spend the next week in quarantine. Namely, there was an infected passenger on the flight Marinić and his coach Stjepan Perestegi took to Japan.
Matija Marinić was vaccinated, he has no symptoms, and he has ten days of daily coronavirus testing behind him, eight of which he did in Japan, but still had to end up in self-isolation.
“This system is simply unsustainable. What is the benefit to an athlete staying in Japan and spending time in isolation, with a lot of testing and evidence that he is not infected? The Olympic Games have already been lost for our Matija Marinić, even if he performed at them, as planned from July 25. Who can compensate him for the years of training and preparation, effort and sacrifice that he invested for his first Olympic appearance?” said Zlatko Mateša.
“This is a glaring example of the inability of the organizers to deal with the problems associated with the pandemic. We ask the International Olympic Committee to protect athletes who prove their health status by daily tests and not to be subjected to such rigorous and unfounded measures, because then everything loses its meaning,” the COC president added.
The COC appealed the self-isolation decision for Marinić, and the Deputy Head of the COC Mission Petra Nosso explained that Marinić and his coach Stjepan Perestegi were in self-isolation based on their seats printed on their airline tickets. According to them, they were sitting close to the infected passenger.
However, as they did not sit in those seats in the end, they were quite far from a potential source of infection.
Nosso added that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is trying to resolve this case through talks with a partner organizer – the Japanese government, which in such cases should be above the authority of a particular prefecture.
To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.
To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.