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Australia’s curlers granted Winter Olympics reprieve despite positive Covid-19 test | Winter Olympics Beijing 2022


Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt will be able to compete in the curling mixed doubles tournament later on Sunday after they were cleared by a medical expert panel, the Australian Olympic Committee said.

Gill returned a series of positive Covid-19 tests late on Saturday and had been placed in isolation ahead of her planned return to Australia.

“The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has just received an email from the Chinese Public Health System advising that the pair can continue under the Close Contact provisions,” the AOC said in a statement.

“The MEP examined Tahli Gill’s CT values following PCR testing over the past 24 hours and determined that they fell into an acceptable range.”

They will compete in Sunday afternoon’s match against Switzerland.

It comes only a couple of hours after the pair’s maiden Winter Olympics campaign was cut short by Gill’s positive result,

having opted to forfeit and fly out of China rather than Gill going into an isolation hotel. The 23-year-old originally contracted Covid in Canada in December.

Her CT levels have waivered between positive and negative during her time in Beijing and she has been managed as a “close contact” which means restricted movements and twice-daily testing.

Team chef de mission Geoff Lipshut said it had been a “negotiation” with the IOC and the local organising committee to keep her in the competition. The results of Gill’s most recent test had meant Olympic officials would not allow her to play in the final two round-robin ties with Switzerland and Canada.

“The Australian Olympic Committee has made the decision to organise for Tahli and Dean and Peter the team manager to return to Australia,” said Lipshut. “Tahli has registered a number of positive Covid tests as well as negative and has been managed through the close contact program over the last couple of days.

“That’s been something that they’ve had to contend with as well as participating. She has been free to participate up until this point but with the most recent test there was a chance she would be moved to an isolation hotel and with two games left we’ve asked Tahli and the choice is to facilitate her return home.”

Gill has been showing no symptoms and Lipshut said medical advice was that it was at the end of the infection cycle, which meant she was free to board a flight later Sunday and would be permitted through customs in Australia.

The Australians, who are the first to ever qualify to compete in the Olympic curling competition, are winless through seven rounds, although four four of those defeats were by a single point.



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