Tokyo 2020 - Spain swimmer Ona Carbonell says she is forced to leave breastfeeding son at home for Olympics

Carbonell's son Kai, who is nearly one, otherwise would have to stay in a separate hotel and won't be able to leave the room for the entire period of Ona's stay in Japan.

FILE PHOTO: Ona Carbonell Ballestero and Andrea Fuentes Fache from Spain during 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Two weeks ago, the IOC told her that she could bring Kai, but only subject to rules set by the Japanese government.   -  AP

Spanish synchronised swimmer Ona Carbonell has said she is disappointed and disillusioned that she cannot take her breastfeeding son with her to Tokyo, because her family would be subject to such drastic restrictions in Japan.

Her husband and son Kai, who is nearly one, would otherwise have to stay in a separate hotel and would not be able to leave their hotel room for the 20 or so days she would be in Japan, she said on her Instagram page.

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"For me to go and breast-feed Kai whenever he needs it during the day, I would have to leave the Olympic villa, the team's bubble, and go to the hotel, risking my team's health."

"I had to make a really tough decision... because the Japanese government's impositions are not compatible with my athletic performance and being with my family at the same time," Carbonell said.

"I hope other athletes can get along with these conditions and still take their kids with them.”

“Personally I can't accept these conditions. I won't be ok, I would have to use the breast pump for 20 days hoping that Kai still wants to be breastfed, something which is very important for me," she added.

Carbonell had initially been told she could not take Kai with her as athlete's families could not travel with them, but after seeing other athletes describing their distress at having to choose between the event and their infants, she and her coach petitioned the International Olympic Committee.

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Two weeks ago they told her she could bring Kai, but only subject to rules set by the Japanese government.

"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."

Tokyo 2020 organisers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"Our only possibility is to wait for the end of this pandemic so that normality returns... so that the reconciliation of motherhood and elite sport is no longer something extraordinary and practically impossible to carry out," she said.

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