Tokyo: Guinea, a small African country, has pulled out of the Olympic Games that begin on Friday, citing resurgence of Covid-19 variants.
Guinean Minister of Sports Sanoussy Bantama Sow announced the pullout of five athletes of the country.
"Due to the resurgence of COVID-19 variants, the Government, concerned with preserving the health of Guinean athletes, has decided with regret to cancel Guinea's participation in the Tokyo Olympics," Sow was quoted as saying by insidethegames.com.
Wrestler Fatoumata Yarie Camara, judoka Mamadou Samba Bah, swimmers Fatoumata Lamarana Toure and Mamadou Tahirou Bah and sprinter Aissata Deen Conte were due to compete for the West African nation at the Olympics.
Guinea is not the first country to withdraw from the Games. North Korea had announced in April that it would not attend Tokyo 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Guinea has competed in 11 Olympic Games. It had sent five athletes to the previous edition held in Rio in 2016.