According to the head of the Polish Luge Association, a Polish luge athlete who was injured during training at the Winter Olympics near Beijing was taken out of China this week in a cargo plane after the restrictions imposed by the organizers in connection with the coronavirus. did not allow him to make a commercial flight.
The incident speaks to the types of complications that could arise in next year’s Winter Games, which are due to start on February 4th in line with strict health protocols. During training and other events leading up to the Games, athletes and team officials are not allowed to move freely until they have spent 21 days in the bubble-like training and competition area.
Luger Mateusz Sochowicz, 25, hit an obstacle and broke his leg on 8 November while training on the track that will be used during the Winter Games. He was hospitalized near Beijing, and the International Luge Federation said she and the local track operator are introducing additional safety measures at the Games after the accident.
But when organizers tried to arrange for Mr Sochowicz to travel back to Poland on a commercial flight, they were told Covid rules would not allow him to do so for another two weeks, according to Janusz Tatera, head of Poland’s luge federation.
Instead, Mr Sohovich took an Air China cargo plane from Beijing to Milan on Monday and then flew back to Warsaw, Mr Tatera said in a telephone interview.
The interior of the cargo plane was the same as that of the passenger plane, Mr Tatera said, adding that Mr Sohovich described his journey from Beijing as “very comfortable”.
Mr Sohovich remains optimistic, said Mr Tatera that he will compete in Beijing in 2022 after recovering from his injury.