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Olympic organisers allow athletes to bring their young children to Tokyo – but only ‘when necessary’

Olympic organisers come under fire after finally allowing athletes to bring their young children to Tokyo but only ‘when necessary’… with USA star Alex Morgan baffled at the Games’ policy just days before she’s due to fly out

Olympic organisers have come under fire after finally allowing nursing mothers to take their young children to Tokyo – but only ‘when necessary’.

Overseas spectators, including the family members of athletes, were banned from attending the Games back in March because of coronavirus concerns.

But that prompted anger from some Olympic mothers, who said they were being forced to choose between competing and breastfeeding their children.

Olympic organisers have allowed nursing mothers to take their young children to Tokyo

Tokyo 2020 have now softened their stance, announcing on Thursday: ‘After careful consideration of the unique situation facing athletes with nursing children, we are pleased to confirm that, when necessary, nursing children will be able to accompany athletes to Japan.’

But US football star Alex Morgan, whose daughter Charlie turned one in May, tweeted: ‘Still not sure what “when necessary” even means. Is that determined by the mother or the IOC?

‘We are Olympic mothers telling you, it is NECESSARY. I have not been contacted about being able to bring my daughter with me to Japan and we leave in seven days.’

US football stars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe have been left baffled by the new policy

Morgan claims she has not yet been contacted about being able to bring her one-year-old daughter Charlie to Japan with her – and is due to leave for Tokyo in seven days

Morgan’s team-mate Megan Rapinoe added: ‘IOC is having a shocker here. If a mother/father/parent says it’s necessary, it’s NECESSARY!’

The British Olympic Association were on Thursday looking into the policy change, which could affect archer Naomi Folkard, who gave birth to her daughter Emily in February.

Folkard, 37, revealed last month how she was having to pump and freeze up to 80 bottles of breast milk before she left for Tokyo so her baby could be fed while she was away.

Serena Williams also announced earlier this week how she would not be taking part next month.

Serena Williams is the latest big-name player to announce she will not be travelling to Tokyo

The US star previously said she was reluctant to go because she would not be able to take three-year-old daughter Olympia with her

The 39-year-old, who has four gold medals and made her debut at the Sydney Games in 2000, had previously said she was reluctant to go because she would not be able to take three-year-old daughter Olympia with her.

Speaking at her pre-Wimbledon press conference, Williams said: ‘I’m actually not on the Olympic list – not that I’m aware of. If so, then I shouldn’t be on it.’

She declined to explain her reasoning, adding: ‘There’s a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision. I don’t feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry.’ 

Team GB archer Naomi Folkard says she will still not be able to take her five-month-old daughter to Tokyo.

Folkard says the U-turn has come too late and does not go far enough for her to change her childcare plans for daughter Emily.

The 37-year-old revealed last month how she was having to pump and freeze up to 80 bottles of breast milk before she left for Tokyo so her baby could be fed while she was away.

Speaking to Sportsmail, Folkard said: ‘It is good that they are acknowledging that breastfeeding mums need to be able to take their kids with them. But I’ve already made plans and I am going to stick with them because I think at this late notice it is a bit stressful to think about changing all of that.

Team GB archer Naomi Folkard has told  Sportsmail how the practicalities have impacted her

‘Even though they have done something, it is very limited. We would only be able to meet our babies in a room on the edge of the Olympic Village, so it is not like you can spend much time with her.

‘I would have to express when I’m in my hotel room or the competition venue, and somehow I would have to keep the milk cold and make sure I got enough to her.

‘I think it is just too much to think about and too stressful. I’ve got a freezer full of milk at home so she should be OK.’

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