Two Judo stars expelled from Olympics for going sightseeing in Tokyo

Two Judo stars Tokyo sightseeing banned from Olympics
Two Judo stars Tokyo sightseeing banned from Olympics

Two Olympic silver medallists from Georgia have reportedly been kicked out of the Tokyo Olympics after violating Covid protocols by going sightseeing in the Japanese capital.

According to Kyodo News, Vazha Margvelashvili and Lasha Shavdatuashvili, both beaten to gold by Japanese rivals, have both been stripped of their accreditation.

It is the first time at these Olympics that competitors have fallen foul of the strict rules which forbid athletes from leaving athletes' accommodation other than to train or compete in competition.

"We took away accreditation as we believe going out of the Athletes' Village for sightseeing is something that should not happen," Tokyo Olympics 2020 spokesperson Masa Takaya said.

Judo stars kicked out of Olympics for going sightseeing in Tokyo
An image purporting to show the Judo stars near Tokyo Tower (Yahoo Japan)

Under strict Covid protocols, the Tokyo 'playbook' prohibits athletes from venturing into Tokyo as tourists and are banned from using public transport.

According to the AFP news agency, the Georgian pair left the athletes' compound to visit "one of their good acquaintances". 

"When they went outside of the village, no one stopped them at the exit. So they thought that they could go outside," an unnamed official told AFP.

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

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 25 : ABE Hifumi (JPN) vs MARGVELASHVILI Vazha (GEO)   - Judo final Men -66 kg pictured during the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games on July 25, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan, 25/07/2021 ( Photo by Vincent Kalut / Photonews via Getty Images)
Abe Hifumi of Japan beat Georgia's Vazha Margvelashvili in the men's -66 kg final. ( Photo by Vincent Kalut / Photonews via Getty Images)

It is reported that the pair had their accreditations taken away and have now left the Japanese capital.

Margvelashvili was bidding to become the second Georgian judoka to win the men's -66kg Olympic title last Sunday, after Shavdatusahvili at London 2012. 

Shavdatusahvili won silver in the -73 kg category in Tokyo on Monday.

On Saturday, newly reported COVID-19 cases in Tokyo surged to a record high of 4,058, the metropolitan government announced.