Spanish Olympic swimmer Ona Carbonell has expressed her disappointment at not being about to take her son to the Games while she is still breastfeeding and having to choose between family or her lifelong dream.
Despite many Olympic athletes requesting to take their children to the Japanese capital Tokyo for the Games, the lack of facilities means it has not been possible.
Carbonell, the captain of the Spanish synchronised swimming team, who gave birth to her son Kai a year ago, expressed her disappointment at not being able to take the tot to Tokyo.
She said on social media: “When I gave birth to Kai and saw that I was getting fit and that I could make it to the Tokyo Games, the first thing I did was ask if I could take him because I was breastfeeding him, and they told me no.
“A few weeks ago, some athletes said on social media that it is a difficult situation having to choose between breastfeeding and family considerations and the Olympic Games.”
Following a number of complaints from various athletes, Carbonell spoke with members of the Spanish Olympic Committee, who she said “helped me a lot”, as well as the Higher Sports Council, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
She said that the IOC confirmed she would not be able to bring Kai a couple of weeks ago.
Carbonell said the Japanese government set the conditions, which she believes are “incompatible with being able to perform at the Olympic Games and with your family being the best it can be”.
She explained: “The conditions are that Pablo (her partner and father of her son) and Kai would have to be in a hotel, we don’t know how far from the Villa. They couldn’t leave the hotel in the 20-odd days that I am in Tokyo and to go breastfeed Kai I would have to leave the Villa, go out of my bubble and go to the hotel.
“It would put the team at risk in the Olympics, which is a goal that we have been fighting for a long time, and at the same time I think it is inappropriate for them to not be able to leave the room for so many days.”
In the end, the synchronised swimmer decided to leave Kai in Spain while she competes on the other side of the world.
She added that the situation has “left a really bad taste” and said she is disappointed she cannot keep up hear breastfeeding routine, “which is something that matters a lot to me”.
The Olympic star concluded: “I hope this serves for the future, for the next games and for other upcoming competitions.”