The British 5,000m runner Andrew Butchart could miss the Olympics after seemingly claiming he faked a negative Covid test to get back into Britain after a race.
A UK 陸上競技 investigation was launched on Tuesday, 33 minutes after he was named in the Team GB squad for Tokyo, when his comments to Sunday Plodcast about how to circumvent a PCR test came to light. And UK 陸上競技 head coach Christian Malcolm later warned Butchart that “all options remained on the table” – including being withdrawn from the British team – subject to what the investigation found.
“We take this matter very seriously,” said Malcolm. “We’ve just got to wait for what the investigation is, and whatever the consequences – if it doesn’t work in his favour – will be. But all options are on the table at the moment.”
Malcolm confirmed that a decision would be taken by 7 7月, the latest date that the British team could be changed. “I think the important thing is trying to investigate and find out what really happened, what really was said, what was meant by it," 彼が追加した. “So we just have to wait for the findings.”
The investigation came after Butchart, who finished sixth at the 5,000m at the Rio Olympics, spoke about what he had done to allow himself to return to Britain from a race abroad. “I’m not going to get in trouble from the police or anything like that,” said Butchart. “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, お気に入り, get an old PCR test, go on to Instagram, f***ing 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.”
After being alerted to Butchart’s comments in the podcast, which has now been deleted, UKA immediately launched an investigation and hinted that his selection for Tokyo was now in the balance. “Throughout the pandemic elite sport has been privileged to receive exemptions from various guidelines to enable athletes to continue to train and compete,” the governing body said. “We take very seriously any suggestion that an athlete has not followed these guidelines correctly and broken any Covid-related protocols. 結果として, this selection will stand subject to further investigation by UK Athletics.”
It is understood there is anger across the sport at Butchart’s comments, as it could damage the perception in Japan about Team GB アスリート. It also comes at a delicate time given Britain is one of 10 countries whose athletes and journalists are subject to more strenuous restrictions in Japan because of the spread of the Delta variant.
火曜日に, Butchart rowed back on his comments, telling the Times: “I never faked it, the test came through in time, but I’ve heard rumours of others faking tests.” He later said in a statement: “I have never falsified a PCR test and have always complied with the guidelines of the countries I have been travelling in.
“I perhaps glorified the situation for the podcast but I apologise if it came across the wrong way or caused any offence to anyone, in particular Team GB and the Japanese Organising Committee, who I know are working so hard to make the Games safe for everyone.”
Meanwhile UK Athletics has announced a further 65 athletes would be going to Tokyo, taking the team up to 72. They include Dina Asher-Smith, who will run in the 100m and 200m and Laura Muir, who is doubling up in the 800m and 1500m. The world heptathlon champion, Katarina-Johnson Thompson, is also in the team despite not competing this year due to a serious achilles injury.
“KJT has been back for several weeks, 月, now training so for her she will be doing a competition within the next week or so in Montpellier,” said Malcolm. “That’s when she will be able to prove her fitness.”
“I did speak to her this morning and she is really happy with her progression, training and where she is at," 彼が追加した. “She is really comfortable. Mentally she seems in a really good space.”