ATHLETICS

Kenya fears Zika may put athletes at risk

The East African country is considering pulling out of this summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro should the outbreak of the virus worsen.

Kenya fears Zika may put athletes at risk

Kenya's Olympic chief has raised the possibility of pulling out of the Rio Olympics this summer if the outbreak of the Zika virus worsens in Brazil, reports said Tuesday.

Kipchoge Keino, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) chairman, said the East African nation may consider pulling out of the competition should the disease reach epidemic levels.

We will wait until the last minute. We are relying on advice from health organisations in Rio, Brazil, to enable us make an informed decision”, Keino said, according to Kenya's Standard newspaper.

Head of Kenya's Olympics committee, Kipchoge Keino speaks during a Reuters interview inside his office in Nairobi

If the Zika virus is serious, then we will not attend the games. We will not expose our youths. The health of our people is more important than the games... but if the Zika virus is not so dangerous, we will go”.

Kenya is famed for its athletes and marathon runners, topping the medal table in last year's world athletics championships in Beijing, taking seven golds, six silvers and three bronze medals.

A city worker in Recife, Brazil fumigates to eradicate the mosquito which transmits the Zika virus

The Zika outbreak, a largely mosquito-borne virus believed to be linked to severe birth defects, has sparked fears of infections in Brazil, which will host the Olympics between 5-23 August.