Spanish swimmer slams Tokyo Olympic officials for forcing her to choose between breastfed son and competing

Picture: Instagram
Picture: Instagram 

The captain of Spain's synchronised swimming team has slammed the organisers of the Tokyo Olympics after being forced to leave her infant son at home to compete. 

Ona Carbonell claims COVID-19 restrictions have forced a ban on children at the Athlete's Village. Despite still breastfeeding her 11-month-old son Kai, she has had to leave him behind in Spain in order to take part. 

The 31-year-old took to Instagram to update fans, explaining she initially believed Kai may have been able to travel with her

"Despite the appearance of some news suggesting the possibility that we athletes could travel to the Tokyo Olympic Games accompanied by our infants or young children, we have been informed by the organising entities of some extremely drastic measures that make this option impossible for me," Carbonell wrote.

"After receiving countless expressions of support and encouragement to go to Tokyo with Kai, I wanted to express my disappointment and disillusionment that I will finally have to travel without him."

Continuing to say that current restrictions, which she called necessary measures, made it 'practically impossible' to be both an elite athlete and a mum.

Tokyo will be the silver and bronze medal winner's third Olympics, but her first as a mum. Despite she and Spanish Olympic Committee petitioning Tokyo officials to allow Kai to stay with her, they were unsuccessful, with officials saying the guidelines had been set by the Japanese government. 

​The only option offered to her for Kai to attend, she explained in an accompanying Instagram video, would be for he and her partner Pablo to stay in a hotel outside the village and for her to go to them to breastfeed. However this had the potential to breach COVID-19 protocol. 


​"I finally had to make a very tough decision with my team ... with my coach ... and with my family, because the conditions set by the government of Japan are incompatible with performing in an Olympic Games,' she explained.

"I hope that all these athletes who are going through the same thing as me help to publicise this situation and normalise something that should be, but obviously is not."

Tokyo earlier this month enacted a state of emergency due to rising COVID-19 infections, which will last until at least August 22. Tough conditions are in place for the games, including no spectators and no international fans at events.

To date, it's understood 82 people associated with the games, including athletes and support personnel, have tested positive to the virus. The games officially open tomorrow, however events have already begun taking place.