'It's unfair': Athletes caught in terrible Olympics virus 'scandal'

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Marketa Nausch Slukova and Barbora Hermannova, pictured here before the Olympics.
Marketa Nausch Slukova and Barbora Hermannova have been forced to withdraw from the Olympics. Image: Getty

The Czech prime minister has lashed out publicly after six athletes and officials on the same flight to the Tokyo Olympics tested positive for coronavirus.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis labelled the situation "a scandal" on Thursday after beach volleyball player Marketa Nausch Slukova and road cyclist Michal Schlegel tested positive in the Olympic Village.

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Slukova and Schlegel took the tally of Covid-positive Czech athletes to four, while two staff members have also been infected.

"I don't like this one bit. I don't understand how it could happen," Babis told reporters.

Nausch Slukova's Austrian coach and husband Simon Nausch tested positive earlier this week, as did another beach volleyball player, Ondrej Perusic, and table tennis hope Pavel Sirucek.

Czech Olympic team doctor Vlastimil Voracek tested positive on arrival in Tokyo, with a spokesperson for the country's Olympic Committee confirming to AFP that all five were on the same flight.

Schlegel's positive test was confirmed later on Thursday. The cyclist also arrived on the same plane.

The Czech Olympic Committee has launched an investigation into the virus spread on the flight, which took 14 athletes to Tokyo from Prague.

"The investigation will focus on whether all safety measures against Covid-19 spread were upheld before, during, and after the flight and whether some individuals have neglected their duties," the Committee said.

The team said other people on the flight have been tested again by PCR tests which were all negative.

Andrej Babis, pictured here talking to the media in the Czech Republic.
Czech prime minister Andrej Babis is fuming over the 'scandal'. (Photo by Tomas Tkacik/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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Nausch Slukova's positive test rules her and teammate Barbora Hermannova out of the Olympics.

"I don't know what to say, I'm terribly disappointed," Nausch Slukova, who was fifth at London 2012 with Kristyna Kolocova, said in a statement.

Prime Minister Babis said: "We keep persuading people to get vaccinated, and the doctor was not vaccinated. 

"It's unfair to the athletes above all."

Olympic team head Martin Doktor said the Czech Olympic Committee had launched a probe into the Covid cluster.

"The situation is serious but since the problem emerged, we have done our best to stop the spread," said Doktor.

"Unfortunately, we could not avoid sporting tragedies. I'm terribly sorry."

David Travnicek, head of the Sport Invest agency representing Nausch Slukova, did not mince his words.

"The incredibly underestimated logistics are pure amateurism in our eyes," he said. 

"It is a failure of the person in charge of the charter flight, not of the people on board."

with AFP

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