rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » Kenya says undecided over Olympics threat posed by Zika virus

Kenya says undecided over Olympics threat posed by Zika virus

Last updated on: February 09, 2016 20:41 IST

- Sports authorities across the world are scrambling to find out more about the mosquito-borne virus as they make plans for the games in August.

IMAGE: Rio Olympics 2016's organizing committee communications director Mario Andrada speaks during a media briefing in Rio de Janeiro, on February 2, 2016. Photograph: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

Kenya is monitoring health threats posed by the Zika virus ahead of the Olympic Games and it is too early to decide on its impact, Kenya's Olympic committee said on Tuesday, playing down comments that had suggested it could pull athletes out.

National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) head Kipchoge Keino had said earlier that Kenya would not "risk taking Kenyans there if this Zika virus reaches epidemic levels", and that he was seeking reassurance from organisers.

NOCK said Keino "may have been quoted out of context".

"It is too early to make a determination on the status of the virus during the games time which is six months away," said NOCK's chief of mission for Rio, Stephen Soi, adding Kenya is receiving regular updates on the virus.

Kenyan athletes include some of the best middle and long-distance runners in the world and would likely be among the star performers at Rio.

But their Olympic preparations have been marred by allegations of widespread doping following a spate of failed drugs tests, stoking fears Kenya could follow Russia and be suspended from international track and field competitions.

More than 40 Kenyan runners have been caught taking performance enhancing drugs in the past few years, including Rita Jeptoo, the winner of Boston and Chicago marathons.

Two Kenyan athletes were also caught doping at the 2015 Beijing World championships, where the East African nation topped the medals table.

Kenya's sports minister Hassan Wario said on Tuesday the country has not yet decided whether to take part in Rio Olympics after meeting with health officials, according to the best-selling Daily Nation newspaper.

INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY

Sports authorities across the world are scrambling to find out more about the mosquito-borne virus as they make plans for the games in August.

The World Health Organization declared an international health emergency on Feburary 1 over the outbreak of the virus, that authorities fear is linked to a rise in cases of microcephaly, a birth defect marked by an abnormally small head.

The US Olympic committee has told its sports federations that athletes and staff concerned for their health should consider not going to Rio.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising pregnant women or those considering becoming pregnant to avoid travel to places with Zika outbreaks.

Source:
© Copyright 2018 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.