UOC to Monitor Zika Virus Ahead of Olympics

1597 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The Uganda Olympic Committee UOC has said they will continue to monitor the health situation and Zika virus in Brazil that will host the 2016 Olympic Games.

The Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) has said they will continue to monitor the health situation in Brazil that will host the 2016 Olympic Games.

Donald Rukare, the Secretary General of the Committee told URN in an interview that although the Zika virus is currently a big threat in Brazil, they are monitoring the situation, but will continue to prepare athletes for the Games.

The Olympics are set to open August 5 in Rio de Janeiro, and there are no plans to postpone the event.

Rukare said they are closely monitoring what is happening in Brazil and other countries in regards to the virus, but added that there is no way Uganda will fail to send a team. "If the organisers tell us that all is well and the games will take place, then we shall have no reason to miss.

Zika has been declared an international public health emergency by the World Health Organization. The virus, which is contracted by mosquito bites, has been linked to microcephaly birth defects in babies, giving pause to some athletes who might consider getting pregnant.

Already reigning Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich together with Alex Chesikit, Jackson Kiprop and Solomon Mutai who won a bronze medal at the 2015 World Championships in China last year are among those who have qualified for Uganda. The others include; Joshua Cheptegei, Timothy Toroitich and Moses Kibet who  also hit the qualifying mark for the 10,000m.

Uganda is expected to field athletes in field and track events, swimming, boxing and badminton if Edwin Ekiring manages to qualify.