APIA: Samoa’s Olympic committee withdrew its three weightlifters from the Tokyo Olympics Thursday, citing Covid-19 concerns, but confirmed its overseas-based athletes would take part despite the government banning participation. The caretaker Minister of Communications, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, had announced Team Samoa would be withdrawn because of Japan’s high daily coronavirus infection rate, saying prevention took precedence over competition. The decision was made without consulting Samoa’s Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (Sasnoc) which met urgently on Thursday and decided the decision would not impact competitors not based in the Pacific island nation. “In view of the announcement by the government that there will be no Team Samoa going to the Olympic Games … we fully understand the logic behind the government decision,” Sasnoc president Patrick Fepulea’i said in a statement. “In respect of the government decision, Sasnoc and the Samoa Weightlifting Federation are withdrawing the weightlifting team from going to the Olympic Games. Samoa will, however, be represented by our other athletes who are based overseas.” The reduced Samoa team will consist of eight athletes, based in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Japan who compete in boxing, sailing, canoeing, athletics and judo.