Tokyo (AFP)

Breastfeeding sportswomen will be allowed "if necessary" to take their children to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, organizers said after being criticized for their strict rules governing the coming of families of participants in the Games.

The families of athletes participating in the Olympics scheduled from July 23 to August 8 are not allowed to attend the event due to a pandemic, under health rules that have resulted in a drastic reduction in the number of people allowed to enter. in Japan.

But Games officials have therefore made an exception for breastfed infants, "after carefully considering this unique situation."

However, these babies will not be allowed to stay in the Olympic Village, and will have to be accommodated in private establishments, such as hotels.

"It inspires that so many sportswomen with young children are able to continue to compete at the highest level," Tokyo-2020 said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that the organizers were "determined to do so. do everything possible to enable them to participate in the Games ".

American football star Alex Morgan, whose daughter Charlie is one year old, felt that was not enough, however.

The two-time world champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist in London tweeted: "I'm not sure what + if necessary" means. Is that determined by the mother or by the IOC? (The International Olympic Committee, Editor's note). These are Olympic mothers who tell you: + it is NECESSARY +. I have not been contacted to find out if I could take my daughter to Japan and we are leaving in 7 days. "

Sportsmen had complained about the rules on social networks, the Canadian basketball player Kim Gaucher having in particular confided to feel "obliged to decide between being a nursing mom or an Olympic sportswoman".

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But the basketball player welcomed the turnaround of the organizers.

“I woke up with great news this morning: Sophie can come to Tokyo. So relieved that I didn't have to make this decision,” she said in a video.

American marathoner Aliphine Tuliamuk was also worried.

“Sometimes I wonder what would happen if something horrible happened and I never came back from Tokyo,” she wrote on Instagram.

"I'm sure all moms understand this feeling."

According to organizers, "appropriate measures" will be applied to infants entering Japan for the Games.

© 2021 AFP