Tokyo Olympics: Britain's 5000m runner Andrew Butchart gets suspended ban ahead of Games

In a now-deleted episode of a podcast, Butchart had said that he had changed the date on an old PCR test as he prepared for check-in.

Andrew Butchart competes in the men's 3000m during the European Athletics Indoor Championships in March, 2021, in Torun, Poland. - GETTY IMAGES

Britain's 5,000 metres runner Andrew Butchart will compete in the Tokyo Olympics after UK Athletics suspended his ban for saying he had changed the date on a COVID-19 test result to return to Britain from a meet before clarifying his remarks.

In a now-deleted episode of The Sunday Podcast, Butchart had said there was a delay in getting his PCR test result before his flight home from the United States and he had changed the date on an old test as he prepared for check-in, The Times newspaper had reported.

"Everybody has faked PCR tests... to try to go somewhere, because it's just so hard," Scot Butchart was quoted as saying in the podcast.

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The 29-year-old later told the newspaper that he had "perhaps glorified the situation for the podcast."

He apologised to Team GB and the Tokyo organisers.

"Following widely publicised comments by Andrew Butchart on a podcast regarding the alleged faking of COVID tests, he was charged with misconduct by UK Athletics for making statements likely to bring athletics into disrepute," UK Athletics said in a statement.

UK Athletics said an independent disciplinary committee had issued Butchart with a 12-month ban from athletics, suspended for a period of two years, and fined him GBP 5,000 (USD 6,886). It said he can compete in the Tokyo Games.

It also warned him about his future conduct and asked him to issue a public written apology to the body.

Butchart had told The Times that he never faked the test and it came through on time.

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"I used the example of athletes I know having to use previous PCR results to get through check-in but not immigration," he had said. "... I haven't done this but know of people who have."

The Tokyo Games, delayed last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, begin on July 23.

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