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17 Jul, 2021 14:51

British runner escapes Olympics exile despite being handed 12-month ban after confessing he used old PCR test for ‘annoying’ Covid

British runner escapes Olympics exile despite being handed 12-month ban after confessing he used old PCR test for ‘annoying’ Covid

Team GB star Andrew Butchart has been punished but given the all-clear to take part in the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after clarifying controversial remarks he made on a recent podcast regarding a faked negative Covid test.

5,000m runner Butchart had been sweating on his place at the games after making candid confessions on a now-deleted podcast episode, appearing to admit that he had changed a result on a Covid-19 test that allowed him to return to Britain after finishing a race abroad.

Butchart has been hit with a $58,000 fine, but the 12-month ban he has been slapped with has been suspended for two years – meaning he is free to compete at Tokyo.

"I'm not going to get in trouble from the police or anything like that," the 29-year-old boldly told The Sunday Plodcast.

"You have to get a Covid test to get into the UK, so you went to a place to get a PCR test before 48 hours – and I'm with check-in and I don't have my PCR test back.

"So you have to quickly get an old PCR test, go on to Instagram, scribble out the time and the date, change the time and the date, and change it so you can get into the country.

"Obviously, Covid is huge but it's quite annoying. Everybody has faked PCR tests, I’m sure, to try and go somewhere, because it’s just so hard."

Clarifying his comments to The Times, however, Butchart said he'd "perhaps glorified the situation for the podcast". He has since apologized to both Team GB and games organizers.

"Following widely publicized comments by Andrew Butchart on a podcast regarding the alleged faking of COVID tests, he was charged with misconduct by UK Athletics for making statements likely to bring athletics into disrepute," read a statement from the British governing body.

Games chief Seiko Hashimoto has admitted there may be concerns in the Olympic Village – previously dubbed the "safest place" – after a fellow organizer tested positive there.

"Athletes who are coming to Japan are probably very worried. I understand that," Hashimoto said on Saturday.

"That is the reason why we need to make full disclosure.

"We are doing everything to prevent any Covid outbreaks. If we end up with an outbreak, we will make sure we have a plan in place to respond," she vowed.

As Tokyo navigates a state of emergency until August 22nd, athletes will be tested on a daily basis while the competition runs from the 23rd of this month until the 8th of next. 

This is one of many reasons why the majority of the local populace polled do not want to receive the already-postponed competition in their capital.

"We are well aware of the skepticism a number of people have here in Japan," responded IOC chief Thomas Bach, forced to address the discord.

Also on rt.com ‘Great start’: Olympic chief Bach makes awkward gaffe by referring to Japanese as CHINESE in first Tokyo public speech

"We ask and invite the Japanese people, humbly, to welcome and support the athletes from around the world.

"The Japanese can have this confidence [of a safe and secure Games] and we will try to continue this dialogue with them, knowing we will not succeed 100 percent.

"But we are also confident that, once the Japanese people see Japanese athletes successfully performing in the Olympic Games, then the attitude may become less emotional."

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