Czech PM blasts 'scandal' as five positive for COVID at Olympics

Prime Minister Andrej Babis called the situation 'a scandal' as beach volleyball player Marketa Nausch Slukova became the third Czech athlete to test positive in the Olympic Village.

Czech Republic's Prime Minister Andrej Babis looks on prior to a European Council Summit at The Europa Building in Brussels, on 20 June 2019. Picture: AFP

PRAGUE - The Czech Olympic team received sharp words from their prime minister on Thursday after five athletes and officials on the same flight to Tokyo tested positive for the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis called the situation "a scandal" as beach volleyball player Marketa Nausch Slukova became the third Czech athlete to test positive in the Olympic Village.

"I don't like this one bit. I don't understand how it could happen," Babis told reporters.

The player's Austrian coach and husband Simon Nausch tested positive earlier this week along with another beach volleyball player, Ondrej Perusic, and table tennis hope Pavel Sirucek.

Czech Olympic team doctor Vlastimil Voracek had tested positive on arrival in Tokyo. Czech Olympic Committee spokesman Tibor Alfoldi confirmed to AFP that all five were on the same flight.

Nausch Slukova's positive test rules her and teammate Barbora Hermannova out of the Olympics.

"I don't know what to say, I'm terribly disappointed," Nausch Slukova, who was fifth at London 2012 with Kristyna Kolocova, said in a statement.

"We keep persuading people to get vaccinated, and the doctor was not vaccinated. It's unfair to the athletes above all," prime minister Babis said.

Olympic team head Martin Doktor said the Czech Olympic Committee had launched a probe into the COVID cluster.

"The situation is serious but since the problem emerged, we have done our best to stop the spread," said Doktor.

"Unfortunately, we could not avoid sporting tragedies, I'm terribly sorry," he added.

David Travnicek, head of the Sport Invest agency representing Nausch Slukova, did not mince his words.

"The incredibly underestimated logistics are pure amateurism in our eyes," he said. "It is a failure of the person in charge of the charter flight, not of the people on board."

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