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Athletes complain of freezing temperatures and chaotic Covid rules at Beijing Winter Olympics

Swedish athlete Frida Karlsson.

Complaints are pouring in from Athletes at the Winter Olympics in Beijing about being forced to compete in freezing temperatures due to the bad timing of events and chaotic implementation of quarantine rules.

Some participants say they are living and training in dismal conditions, and want the organisers to improve arrangements, according to a BBC report.

The Swedish delegation called for cross-country skiing events to be held earlier in the day to protect athletes from freezing temperatures – after Swedish athlete Frida Karlsson was seen shaking and close to collapse at the end of her women's 7.5km+7.5km skiathlon on Saturday, the BBC report said.

Under the International Ski Federation rules, competitions are not allowed to take place when temperatures plunge below -20C (-4F).

Temperatures measured -13C when Karlsson competed on Saturday, but Swedish team boss Anders Bystroem told reporters that temperatures were even lower at -31C with wind chill taken into consideration.

"We have the cold limits, but I do not know if they also measure the wind effect," Mr Bystroem told Reuters news agency on Sunday.

A handful of Covid-19 cases – including athletes and team officials – have been reported at the Games, but athletes are finding it difficult  to deal with confusion created by the isolation rules.

Media, athletes and observers are being kept in distinct "bubble areas", with the rules saying anyone entering these bubbles must be fully vaccinated or spend 21 days in quarantine.

China's rules stipulate those who have symptoms will be taken to a designated hospital and those who are asymptomatic will stay in an isolation facility.

Those infected will be kept in isolation until they test negative twice 24 hours apart. After that, they will be released to re-join the bubble.

Belgian athlete Kim Meylemans posted a tearful account on Instagram, alleging that she had been shuttled around one isolation facility to another and was not sure whether she could handle the situation.