Two Kiwis Olympic qualifying hopes may be under threat after the International Surfing Association announced that there have been several positive cases of Covid-19 at the ISA World Surfing Games in El Salvador.
On the eve of the nine-day event, the sports governing body on Saturday (NZ time) confirmed there had been 18 positive cases recorded after the 564 competitors and event officials were PCR tested between May 27-28 (local time).
Eleven of those 18 are athletes, while there are also an additional 10 cases currently pending further testing.
Paige Hareb and Saffi Vette are the two New Zealanders at the event, as they chase the two available places for women in the Kiwi team for Tokyo, where surfing is making its Olympic debut.
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The ISA said the 18 positive cases are now required to quarantine in a hotel provided by the government, in line with protocols set out for the event, but would not be revealing further information about who had tested positive.
The ISA is taking this action and publishing this information because it prioritises the health and well-being of all athletes, officials and coaches at its events, the governing body said in a statement.
We are also providing this information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency.
No specific details regarding the teams or individuals who have tested positive will be published. The ISA will make further Covid-19 statements after additional rounds of testing are completed.
Ella Williams currently has a provisional place for Tokyo and opted not to compete at the World Surfing Games, while Billy Stairmand, who is likely to represent NZ in the mens Olympic event, also chose to skip the El Salvador event.
Hareb and Vette, both Covid-19 vaccinated, chose to compete despite Surfing New Zealand withdrawing their support because of the risk around the pandemic.

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