Spanish synchronised swimmer Ona Carbonell says she is disillusioned and disappointed after she was forced to decide on whether to leave her breastfed son at home or compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The London 2012 silver and bronze medallist has criticised organisers and the coronavirus restrictions in Japan, which would have made it virtually impossible to continue feeding her child, Kai, who is yet to turn one.
In a powerful video posted on Instagram, in which Carbonell delivers her message while breastfeeding her baby, she said her husband and Kai would have had to stay isolated in their hotel room throughout the Games so that she could deliver expressed milk and feed him.
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They would not be allowed out, to minimise the risk of infiltrating the Spanish Olympic team’s bubble - but Carbonell would already be doing that by leaving her room in the athlete village. The potential arrangement was put to her after she was initially told she could not travel with her family, but after petitioning the International Olympic Committee, who said they would have to abide by rules put in place by the Japanese government.
https://www.instagram.com/tv/CRhNjnYJS4D/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
"For me to go and breastfeed Kai whenever he needs it during the day I would have to leave the Olympic villa, the team's bubble, and go to the hotel, risking my team's health," she said.
"I had to make a really tough decision, because the Japanese government's impositions are not compatible with my athletic performance and being with my family at the same time.
"I hope other athletes can get along with these conditions and still take their kids with them.
Personally I can't accept these conditions. I won't be okay, I would have to use the breast pump for 20 days hoping that Kai still wants to be breastfed, something which is very important for me.

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Carbonell, a world champion in 2009, has made the decision to compete in Tokyo - but she says she should not have to choose between being a mum and a sportswoman.
"After receiving countless expressions of support and encouragement to go to Tokyo with Kai, I wanted to express my disappointment and disillusionment that I will finally have to travel without him.
"Our only possibility is to wait for the end of this pandemic so that normality returns... so that the reconciliation of motherhood and elite sport is no longer something extraordinary and practically impossible to carry out.”
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