After Being Denied a Ticket Due to COVID- This Olympian Hangs on by a Thread

Published 08/03/2021, 6:47 AM EDT


Just after the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics 2020, the Sports Minister of Guinea released a statement that they would not be sending their athletes to Tokyo. The reason cited in the statement was a resurgence in Covid-19 cases.

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The truth of the matter, however, was that the government had just not kept any funds aside for their athletes to travel to the games. This decision took the International Olympic Committee by surprise and prompted them to send a letter to the country’s Olympic and Sports Committees.

A lifelong dream hanging by a thread

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Only four athletes from Guinea have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Among these athletes is World No. 8 Fatoumata Yarie Camara who grew up in abject poverty in her hometown of Hamdallaye in the capital city of Conakry. Camara stays in a small house surrounded by streets strewn with garbage.

She got into wrestling at a young age as her mother supported her decision. Camara saw it as a way of getting a new lease on life. She was the sole money maker in Camara’s house, so her word was the last word. 

Ever since she gave up school after winning medal after medal, she has dreamed of wrestling at the Olympics. In April, Camara advanced to the semi-finals in the African and Oceania qualifying tournament in Tunisia. She lost the final, but silver was enough for her to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Tokyo Olympics 2020 scare

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Ahead of the Olympics, Camara and the 3 other athletes received the news that Guinea was withdrawing from the Olympics. Guinea cited safety reasons, saying they wanted to ensure the safety of their athletes amidst rising Covid-19 cases.

The country had actually not assigned any funds for the athletes to travel and for their expenses. “The Olympics have always been a dream,” she said. “But this is God who controls all. I must just keep the courage, like always.”

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DIVE DEEPER

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The news of the country’s withdrawal caused an uproar within the nation’s borders, and beyond it. The country quickly reversed its decision and allotted funds for the athletes to travel. You can catch Camara in action tomorrow, in the women’s 57kg freestyle event. 

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Allan Binoy

232 articles

Allan Binoy is a Combat Sports Author at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in English Literature. Allan is a semi-professional football player for Diego Juniors FC.

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