Olympic athletes who are breastfeeding can now take their infants with them to the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.
This decision is a result of athletes who had recently given birth, publicly sharing their frustrations about having to leave their young ones behind.
No family allowed to accompany athletes
Japan is not allowing fans to travel from other countries to the games, due to COVID-19 restrictions. This means families of competing athletes would not be there to cheer them on either.
But with barely three weeks to the start of the event, organisers say they would allow young children to accompany their parents.
The Tokyo organising committee said in a statement that the rules have been altered to accommodate children.
After careful consideration of the unique situation facing athletes with infants, we are pleased to confirm that, when necessary, young children will be able to accompany athletes to Japan.
However, they would be restricted from accessing the Olympic village and would be required to stay in approved hotels.
We can’t leave them behind
Early this week, US runner, Aliphine Tuliamuk posted a photo to Instagram of her nursing her five-month old daughter Zoe, admitting that she ‘cried a lot’ at the thought of leaving her behind.
She also spoke about the challenges that female athletes face and the hard choices they have to make to maintain a semblance of balance in their lives.
I want her to know that even in the face of challenges that she can still follow her passion and prevail... Now I need to tell this to myself, that even in the face of challenges like leaving my now 5month old breastfeeding daughter behind for 10 days to race at the Olympics, I can prevail and show her how to be strong.
Last month, Serena Williams suggested in an interview that she would not be partaking in the games if her three year-old daughter, Olympia was unable to come with her.