PSC airs concern on Olympic-bound Pinoy athletes
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 14, 2016 06:38 PM
We are concerned and we are monitoring this. Our embassy in Brazil is monitoring the situation -- PSC chairman Richie Garcia on the presence of the dreaded Zika virus and a new 'super bacteria' in Brazil
Aside from the dreaded Zika virus, there’s the presence of a “super bacteria” off the waters of Rio de Janeiro that has further increased the threat to athletes vying in the Rio Olympics in August.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia on Tuesday said they are closely monitoring the situation in Rio, and has aired concern for the Olympic-bound Filipino athletes.
“We are concerned and we are monitoring this. Our embassy in Brazil is monitoring the situation,” said Garcia during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate Tuesday.
“This virus or bacteria is not only the Philippines’ concern. I think all the countries are monitoring this,” said the PSC chairman.
The Zika virus, a mosquito-borne infection mostly affecting pregnant women and infants, has already raised concern among some participants.
There have been calls for Rio to call off the Olympics, considering the country is also in a state of depression and political instability.
Then news of the “super bacteria” came out days ago when scientists found traces of the powerful microbes off the Rio beaches and waters to be used in the Olympics.
The affected areas include the world famous Copacabana beach, where triathlon competitions and open-water swimming will be held during the Games scheduled Aug. 5 to 21.
The microbes were also found in the waters off Ipanema, Leblon, Botafogo and Flamengo.
Garcia said while there’s a threat to the Games, they will have to wait for further announcements from the World Health Organization regarding the forthcoming Olympics.
“Right now it’s on. But we will know maybe a month before the Games if it will push through. We can only take the precautions as of now,” he said.
Athletes and officials going to Rio are advised to carry mosquito repellants at all times to ward off the Zika virus.
“It is sad because our young athletes are the ones who may be affected. They will be the carriers of this virus and not us the older people,” said Garcia.
So far, there are five Filipino athletes holding confirmation to the Rio Olympics, from boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez, taekwondo’s Kirstie Elaine Alora, table tennis’ Ian Lariba and long jumper Marestella Torres.
There are more either waiting for confirmation or still trying to qualify, and officials are looking at a dozen or less athletes to finally make it. Among them are weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, marathoner Mary Joy Tabal, sprinter Eric Cray, runner Kayla Richardson, boxers Ian Clark Bautista and Eumir Felix Marcial, swimmers Jessie Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhadi, and golfers Miguel Tabuena, Angelo Que and Dottie Ardina, and another weightlifter, Nestor Colonia.
The Philippine men’s basketball team known as Gilas is also knocking on the door, and will get the chance when they host the FIBA World Qualifying starting on July 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena.