It was in another time, albeit only ten days ago, and in another land, one that is now finally, in complete lockdown, but news that two of the boxers and one coach who competed in the Olympic Qualifier in London before it was abandoned have tested positive for the coronavirus will send a chill down the Irish team of 13 who were there competing at the same time.
All three of those affected are from Turkey and are being treated for the virus and are in good condition according to the head of the Turkish Boxing Federation who announced the news yesterday.
None of the Irish boxers fought a Turkish opponent but the proximity of the athletes and the bouts taking place over just two rings meant there were occasions when Irish boxers were fighting just before and a few bouts after Turkish competitors in the same ring.
Of course, they could have been closer to infection walking around their home towns or in the airport on their way back but it is still a stark reminder about why it has been so important to shut down sport, particularly in cases where there is such close physical contact.
“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 Eyip Gozgec, speaking to The Guardian Newspaper.
“It was irresponsible. And as a result, unfortunately, three of our team have now tested positive.”
“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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