Days out from the opening ceremony the Australian Olympic Committee has announced three additional athletes to the Australian Olympic Team.
Max Purcell will join the tennis team to replace Alex De Minaur as a doubles partner to John Peers. The 23-year-old is a capable doubles player, reaching the 2020 Australian Open final with Luke Saville.
The decision comes following De Minaur testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this week. Due to fly to Tokyo on July 18, the 22-year-old was forced to withdraw from his first Olympics and is now the second Australian men’s singles player to withdraw following Nick Kyrgios earlier this month.
However, Purcell will not replace De Minaur in the singles, which will be awarded on a rolldown quota allotment leaving Australia with two men’s singles players, James Duckworth and John Millman.
Chef de Mission for the Australian team, Ian Chesterman expressed sympathy for De Minaur but emphasised that this must be the standard for the games to go ahead safely.
“Naturally, we have great sympathy for Alex being in this situation so close to the Games. We know he loves representing his country and his sport and that he was very much looking forward to his first Olympic Games.”
“But this is the reality of the world right now. Japan and the Olympic movement needs effective measures to ensure a safe and secure Games.
“The safety of the Australian Olympic Team and the Japanese community is paramount and the system put into place has done its job, sadly for both us and for Alex.”
Rugby Sevens player Nathan Lawson joins the Australian team following the withdrawal of Henry Paterson due to injury. Never having played for his country in Sevens before, Lawson earns his first cap in Tokyo as the side chases its first Olympic medal.
Georgia Wilson is another Olympic debut as she joins the Hockeyroos squad following Penny Squibb’s withdrawal due to injury. Unlike Lawson, Wilson is no stranger to the Hockeyroos but is yet to play at a major tournament after a serious knee injury forced her out of the side prior to the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
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Mr Chesterman welcomed the new additions to the Australian Olympic team.
“Congratulations to Max, Nathan and Georgia on making their Australian Olympic debuts,” Mr Chesterman said.
“Injuries and withdrawals so close to a Games are unfortunate and our thoughts are with Alex, Henry and Penny. But this has now provided an opportunity for Max, Nathan and Georgia, an opportunity I am sure they will make the most of.
“These athletes have been working on their craft over a long period and I’m sure they will do their teammates, family, supporters, coaches and the Australian Olympic Team proud in Tokyo.”
The Australian Team now grows to 487 athletes, with the potential for an additional member to join the team should The Australian Olympic Committee and Basketball Australia select a replacement for Opal, Liz Cambage.
Australian Olympic Team Replacements
|Max Purcell||Tennis – men’s doubles||Debut|
|Nathan Lawson||Rugby Sevens||Debut|
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