A situation like this seemed sadly inevitable, given the circumstances. Just recently the International Olympic Committee was accused of putting athletes and boxing personnel in jeopardy after they returned home from an Olympic boxing tournament in London on March 14, and tested positive for COVID-19.
Croatian officials confirmed that two Turkish boxers, and others at the event tested positive. The list included three boxers – Necat Ekinci, Serhat Guler, and Busenaz Surmeneli – and a head coach, Seyfullah Dumlupinar.
Eyup Gozgec, who is the president of the Turkish Boxing Federation, said they likely contracted the virus in London, and didn’t mince words about his frustrations in a letter to other federations.
“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,” said Gozgec. “It was irresponsible. And as a result, unfortunately three of our team have now tested positive.”
The event took place well after the NBA, the NHL, and other major sports leagues across the US and abroad had cancelled their seasons. The International Olympic Committee was aware enough to make changes, however futile, before fighters contracted the pathogen, changing two events with spectators to a closed door event. Gozgec went on.
“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 organize this horrible event.”
It’s the kind of situation that could be a case study for the UFC in how the best prevention is knowing when your freedom as a company could be a potential a liability for others.
An IOC spokesman was quoted as saying, “For understandable reasons we will wait to receive the details from those concerned before making an informed comment.”
The Tokyo Olympics have been officially postponed until 2021.