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GB runner investigated after claiming he faked PCR test to fly home

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UK Athletics and the British Olympic Association have confirmed they are investigating after an athlete claimed he faked a PCR test in order to get back to the UK after an international event.

Runner Andrew Butchart, who has been selected for the GB team in Tokyo, reportedly told a podcast he had doctored an old PCR test result when checking in at an airport because his results had not come through in time.

In an episode, which has now been deleted, he told The Sunday Plodcast how “annoying” he found the testing and protocols when travelling abroad to compete.

Butchart has been travelling to competitions abroad ahead of the Tokyo Games
Image: Butchart has been travelling to competitions abroad ahead of the Tokyo Olympics

“Everybody has faked PCR tests, I’m sure, to try to go somewhere, because it’s just so hard,” he said.

The Times reports that the 29-year-old said: “I’m not going to get in trouble from the police or anything like that.”

But now UK Athletics has confirmed to Sky News that the suggestion that Butchart faked a test is being taken “very seriously”.

In a statement it said: “UKA and the BOA are aware of comments made as part of a podcast by a selected athlete today.

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“Throughout the pandemic elite sport has been privileged to receive exemptions from various guidelines to enable athletes to continue to train and compete.

“We take very seriously any suggestion that an athlete has not followed these guidelines correctly and broken any COVID-related protocols.

“As a result, this selection will stand subject to further investigation by UK Athletics. No further comment will be made until this investigation is concluded.”

Earlier Butchart, from Dunblane in Scotland, told The Times he had “never faked a test” and later released his own statement to clarify his comments.

“I have never falsified a PCR test and have always complied with the guidelines of the countries I have been travelling in.”

He added that while he had never done it himself, he knew of people who had.

The 5,000m runner competed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where his GB teammate Mo Farah won gold.

The opening ceremony for the delayed Tokyo Games is due to take place on 23 July.