Belgium’s Jelle Geens will miss the men’s triathlon race at the Tokyo Olympics following a positive Covid test.
The news was confirmed in a statement from the Belgian National Olympic Committee, which said: “Jelle Geens became infected with corona while he was still preparing for the Olympic Games in Europe.”
However, it seems there are still hopes that he could compete in the relay event later in the week. That’s because, according to the rules, an athlete can head to Tokyo if they are symptom-free in the 14 days before departure and test negative twice in the 96 hours before departure.
The Belgian National Olympic Committee statement added: “He is symptom-free and has tested negative once. If possible, he will travel to Tokyo in the coming days, as soon as this is in accordance with the rules, to participate in the mixed relay next Saturday. He is diligently preparing for this start in Europe.”
Geens, who’s known for his impressive running pace, had been going into the Olympics in good form, with a second-place finish at WTCS Yokohama showing he could do the business in the heat. He also won WTCS Montreal in 2019, beating Spanish ace Mario Mola in the process.
In light of these developments, Noah Servais is travelling to Tokyo as a possible stand-in for the relay if Geens isn’t able to compete.
The news comes as a number of other athletes from different sports are also forced to drop out of Tokyo 2020 due to the impact of Covid, including Team GB’s Amber Hill (shooting), Dan Evans (tennis) and Johanna Konta (tennis).
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