Strictly's Nicola Adams out of competition after partner Katya Jones tests positive for COVID-19

·3-min read

Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams has had to pull out of Strictly Come Dancing after her partner on the television show tested positive for coronavirus.

The BBC said Adams and Katya Jones were now self-isolating separately and would not be able to continue.

The women were Strictly's first same-sex pairing.

Adams - a two-time Olympic champion who retired last year - said she was "absolutely devastated", while Jones said she had "made a friend for life and loved every moment".

The rest of the cast are unaffected and the show will take place as normal on Saturday.

Adams, 38, said she had "so much more to give and so many people to win this for" and thanked Jones "for being the best dance partner anyone could ask for".

"She pushed me way out of my comfort zone and it's been an incredible experience," said Adams.

"I'm gutted to be out of the competition but in these unprecedented times and as frustrating as it is, the COVID measures in place are to keep everyone safe, and I'm doing what I can to help.

"I'll be spending the next 14 days isolating so I'd like to apologise in advance for the ridiculous amount of TikToks I'll be posting, in my new found free time when I'm not gaming."

Jones said that Adams had been "an absolute inspiration".

"She's given her all each and every week and we were so excited to create more dances in the competition," she said.

"Of course, I'm devastated to leave this way but I've made a friend for life and loved every moment of this special journey. I'd like to wish good luck to all the remaining couples."

News of their departure was met by an outpouring of support from the show's cast, past and present, and celebrity fans.

The show's host Claudia Winkleman said: "We're so sad about this. Nicola and Katya were completely brilliant."

Strictly judge Motsi Mabuse posted two red heart emojis, while EastEnders star Emma Barton, who was on Strictly last year, wrote: "Darling girl.. I'm so sorry for you both... Look after yourself.. ".

Former home secretary Jacqui Smith, who was the first Strictly Come Dancing contestant eliminated this year, tweeted: "So sad for lovely @NicolaAdamsOBE and @Mrs_katjones but they've already lit up our screens and broken amazing new ground and are winners!"

Former Strictly contestant and GMB presenter Susanna Reid tweeted: "This is such a shame for Nicola and Katya - and for the whole show too. Get well soon Katya".

And West End star Beverley Knight simply tweeted: "NOOOO!".

The BBC said Jones was asymptomatic and that the pair were self-isolating separately in accordance with government guidelines.

"As part of the protocols outlined ahead of the series, this sadly means they will no longer be able to take part in the competition," said a statement.

Adams' pairing with Russian dancer Jones was hailed as an important moment for the show when it was announced in September.

Adams said at the time that it was "amazing to be a part of the movement for change, diversity and breaking boundaries in the entertainment industry".

The boxer won gold at the London and Rio Olympics and later turned pro.

However, she was forced to give up boxing last year over fears for her sight after she tore the pupil in her eye.

She retired as the WBO world flyweight champion.