Olympics-Triathlon-Belgium's Geens to miss men's race after positive COVID test

FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Triathlon - Final - Men's Final - Fort Copacabana - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Jelle Geens (BEL) of Belgium competes. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium’s Jelle Geens will miss the Olympics men’s individual triathlon on Monday after testing COVID-19 positive but is still hoping to travel for the mixed relay on July 31.

Geens, 28, is the first Belgian to be affected by COVID-19 restrictions and had been considered a medal contender.

“Jelle Geens became infected with corona while he was still preparing for the Olympic Games in Europe,” said a statement from the Belgian National Olympic Committee on Friday.

“According to the rules, a departure to Tokyo is only possible if the traveller is symptom-free in the 14 days before departure and tests negative twice in the last 96 hours before departure at a laboratory accredited by Japan.

“He is symptom-free and has tested negative once.

“If possible, he will travel to Tokyo in the coming days, as soon as this is in accordance with the rules, to participate in the mixed relay next Saturday. He is diligently preparing for this start in Europe.”

Noah Servais has been sent to Tokyo as a possible replacement for the relay if Geens does not make it, the statement added.

Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ken Ferris