Curling-Australia end mixed doubles campaign after Gill tests positive for COVID

(Reuters) – Australian curler Tahli Gill has tested positive for COVID-19, the country’s Olympic committee (AOC) said on Sunday, bringing an end to her and Dean Hewitt’s winless mixed doubles campaign at the Winter Games in Beijing.

Gill returned a series of positive tests late on Saturday and has been placed in isolation ahead of her return to Australia.

The 22-year-old had previously tested positive on arrival in Beijing but was cleared to compete with Hewitt after she produced two negative tests.”We made the case that Tahli was at the end of the infection cycle but further positive results early this morning ended our hopes,” Australia’s Chef de Mission Geoff Lipshut said.

“Rather than remain in isolation, we now have the option of returning Tahli and Dean home … They have been absolutely magnificent in the face of difficulty.”

The pair, who made history by becoming the first curlers from Australia to compete at the Games, were scheduled to play their final two round-robin matches against Switzerland and Canada later on Sunday.While Gill and Hewitt did not register a victory in their debut campaign, four of their seven defeats came in closely-fought contests by a single-point margin.

“Australians now have a love affair with curling thanks to their efforts,” Lipshut added. “It was a disrupted campaign but a very brave campaign. We are very proud of them.”

Teams will play nine matches in the round-robin stage, which continues on Sunday, with the top four progressing to Monday’s semi-finals.