Accessibility links

Breaking News

Two Georgians Expelled From Olympic Games After Going Sightseeing

Georgian judoka Vazha Margvelashvili, who won a silver medal in his discipline, has been named as one of the athletes involved in the incident.

Two judokas from Georgia have been thrown out of the Tokyo Olympic Games after leaving the Athletes' Village to go sightseeing, the Japanese Kyoto news agency reported on July 31.

Tokyo organizers said the two participants had violated strict COVID-19 protocols.

It is the first dismissal of athletes at the Tokyo Olympics since the games begun on July 23, organizing committee spokesman Masanori Takaya said.

An official with Georgia’s National Olympic Committee identified the two as silver medalists Vazha Margvelashvili, 27 and Lasha Shavdatuashvili, 29 and said they had ventured out of the compound to meet "one of their good acquaintances" who lives in Japan.

Lasha Shavdatuashvili competing at the Tokyo Olympics.
Lasha Shavdatuashvili competing at the Tokyo Olympics.

"When they went outside of the village, no one stopped them at the exit. So they thought that they could go outside," the official who did not want to be named told the AFP news agency on July 31.

"They wanted just to have a bit of open air, to relax after a tough day of competition, after a tough lockdown period,” the official said.

Tokyo 2020 organizers said on July 31 they had taken disciplinary action on July 29 against at least one Olympics participant, without revealing how many people were involved or their identity.

Takaya, said at a press briefing on July 31 it was an "egregious case" of rule-breaking and the offenders are no longer allowed to enter Olympic facilities.

The Georgian NOC official said the pair had their accreditation revoked on July 29, but that they have now left Japan to return home.

Both athletes had been beaten to the gold medals by different Japanese judoka this week.

Athletes are tested daily while in Japan, where they are living in biosecure 'bubble' environment and must leave the country 48 hours after they have finished competing.

Athletes are not allowed to take public transportation and can only leave their accommodation to travel to Olympic venues.

Japan is facing a surge in coronavirus cases.

Based on reporting by Kyodo, dpa and AFP