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IOC accused of risking athletes' health by staging boxing qualifiers in London

The International Olympic Committee has been accused of being "irresponsible" in allowing last week's Olympic boxing qualifiers to go ahead in London. 

Three members of the Turkish team, who were competing at the European leg of the qualifiers at the Copper Box Arena, have tested positive for COVID-19 on their return home from the English capital.

Ireland's Brendan Irvine qualified for the Tokyo Games before the event was postponed last Monday due to the coronavirus, with another nine members of the Irish still in contention when qualification resumes later this year.

European European Boxing Confederation president Franco Falcinelli admitted earlier this month that the chance of COVID-19 transmission in London would be high and the Turkish Boxing Federation have blasted the IOC for allowing it to go ahead.

“While the whole world was taking extreme measures to deal with the virus, I am baffled that an IOC taskforce and the British government allowed the tournament to start even though many of us had concerns and almost every other sport had shut down,” Turkish Boxing Federation Eyup Gozgec told The Guardian. “It was irresponsible. And as a result, unfortunately three of our team have now tested positive.

“Unfortunately, two of our athletes and our Turkish head coach have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus after returning to Turkey from London, all of them are in treatment now and thankfully they are in good condition. This is the disastrous result of the irresponsibility of the IOC taskforce.

“This virus has been around since December 2019. Therefore, it is inevitable to ask why the European qualification event was not postponed before it even took place? They did not consider anyone’s health, which led them to organise this horrible event.”

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