(Updates with UK Athletics statement in paragraphs 4-7)
June 30 (Reuters) - UK Athletics is looking into comments by 5,000 metres runner Andrew Butchart that he changed the date on a COVID-19 test result in order to return to Britain after an international event, though the Scot has since clarified his remarks.
In a now-deleted episode of The Sunday Plodcast, Butchart said there was a delay in getting his PCR test result back before his flight and he had changed the date on an old test as he prepared for check-in, the Times newspaper reported.
“Everybody has faked PCR tests, I’m sure, to try to go somewhere, because it’s just so hard,” Butchart, who has been named in Britain’s team for the Tokyo Olympics, was quoted as saying in the podcast.
A UK Athletics spokesperson told Reuters the organisation and the British Olympic Association were aware of the comments.
“Throughout the pandemic, elite sport has been privileged to receive exemptions from various guidelines to enable athletes to continue to train and compete,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“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.”
Butchart, 29, told the Times on Tuesday he had “perhaps glorified the situation for the podcast” and apologised to Team GB and Tokyo organisers.
“I never faked it, the test came through in time, but I’ve heard rumours of others faking tests,” he said.
“The context of the podcast was about how hard it has been for athletes during the pandemic to travel and race.
“I used the example of athletes I know having to use previous PCR results to get through check-in but not immigration. To confirm, I have not done this but know of people who have.”
The Tokyo Games, delayed last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will begin on July 23. (Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford )