GB medal hope Amber Hill withdraws from Olympics after positive Covid test

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Team GB shooter Amber Hill, the favourite for the skeet competition on Sunday, has admitted she is devastated after being forced to pull out of the Olympics following a testing positive for Covid.

The 23-year-old, the world No 1 in her discipline, said she had no symptoms after the positive test prior to her departure from the UK. “There are no words to describe how I’m feeling right now,” she said. “After five years of training and preparation, I’m absolutely devastated to say that last night I received a positive Covid-19 test, meaning I’ve had to withdraw from Team GB’s shooting team.

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“Although I don’t have any symptoms, I will now isolate as per the Government guidance.”

The shock news came after Mark England, chef de mission of Team GB at these Games warned everyone back home to buckle up for a bumpy ride. However, he promised that Britain would still end up celebrating a successful campaign.

“My message is that Team GB has almost 800 athletes and support staff in the country,” he said. “The athletes are fit, well and healthy. No one in Team GB has tested positive so there should be huge confidence in our Covid mitigating measures. We want everyone back home to buckle up.

“It won’t be an easy ride but it’ll be exciting and fun and there’ll be some memories I’m sure will live long. I’d be pretty confident in 19 days’ time we’ll be celebrating a very very successful campaign for Team GB.”

Only 30 British athletes from six sports are considering attending the opening ceremony on Friday, with many worried about venturing outside of the Village to avoid coming into contact with other countries.

<span>Photograph: Massimo Pinca/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Massimo Pinca/Reuters

It is understood those numbers could fall even further. But England promised that any British athlete who became a close contact would not miss any action. “Nobody who is contact-traced and has to isolate will be missing from the field of play when the Olympic Games start,” he added.

England also refused to put a medal target on the back of his athletes, but insisted Team GB wanted to put a smile on the nation’s face after a difficult 18 months because of the pandemic.

“Many people back home have lost their lives, many people have had their livelihoods changed – now are we maturely representing the hopes and the aspirations of millions and millions of people back home,” he said. “I don’t know what the medal outcome is going to be, but what I would say is that this is a top top team. You go across every single athlete, every single team, every single sport, every single discipline, and you know, we can medal in all of those.”

England also confirmed that there would be a homecoming event for Team GB at Wembley Arena on 15 August – with a national lottery ballot to win tickets for the public. Acts will include Rag ‘n Bone Man, Bastille, Griff and Laura Mvula – plus all the athletes.

The British Olympic Association said the event was being staged as it was the only way they could get the athletes together for a celebration. At these Games, the 11,000 competitors are required to fly out within 48 hours of the completion of their final event, so the majority won’t be in Tokyo by the time of closing ceremony.

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