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Zika virus, violence ruin Rio Olympics excitement

With the Olympics games scheduled to kick off on Friday, August 5, 2016, the major concern for athletes isn’t how they will win medals. Their priority seems to be focused on how they will beat the dreaded Zika virus, survive Rio’s unbelievable violence, kidnapping and robbery. Wining medals seems to be the second on their priority list.
Also, notable celebrities are planning on boycotting the event with media coverage threatened as media staff are afraid of the Zika threat.
The virus which was first noticed in Brazil in late 2015, is now affecting nearly all Latin American and Caribbean countries, and the Zika outbreak has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard while expressing her readiness to participate in the games said, “It was a hard decision for me and I definitely thought about all the pros and cons.
“But at the end of the day, I knew in my heart I didn`t want to be sitting at home watching the Olympics on TV. Also knowing I might have two or three Olympics in my career, I felt that the decision to go was the right one.”
Fear of the mosquito-borne Zika virus which is particularly dangerous for pregnant women as it can cause birth defects in babies, such as abnormally small heads, have seen some athletes pull out of the competition already. While others are still in doubt.
Golf has been made an Olympic sport for the first time in 112 years at the detriment of cricket. However, some stars of the game have opted out due to the fear of Zika, while others are in doubt. Danny Willett, who became the first Englishman to win the Masters this year since Nick Faldo in 1992, is one of those concerned.
According to Euro news, Faldo was quoted as saying, “I’m not a doctor, I don’t know the ins and outs of it, but I’m going to have a sit down with the guys about it this week and we’ll check everything.
“If it turns out it would be a threat to me, Nic [Willett’s wife] or to little man, I probably wouldn’t go. Family comes first, but, as it stands at the minute, I think everything should be OK.”
Former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy on his part has opted out from the games. The Irish initially planned to go.
As for world’s No. 7, Adam Scott, the 2016 Rio Olympics is a no go. “Clearly, traditional Olympic athletes are in a very awkward situation. They’ve trained so hard for this and it is everything that they’ve dreamed of, and for a health epidemic to get in the way, I understand why they are still trying to go,” he said
Other Golf stars who opted out are Australian Jason Day, Americans Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson.
Kenya’s national Olympics committee has warned that the country may pull its entire athletes if the outbreak reaches epidemic levels.
British heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, who won gold at the London 2012 Olympics has expressed concerns over the impact the virus could have on her involvement in the games. The 30-year-old mum has revealed plans to have more children when she retires, and wouldn’t compromise that for anything. Although she is not considering dropping out of the Olympics, she aims to minimise her time in Brazil by completing her training in Europe or the United States.
The Zika virus will not only affect athletes participation, notable personalities have also pulled out of the Olympic games.
Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry of the royal family of Britain have made it clear that they will not be attending this year’s Rio Olympics due to concerns over the Zika virus.
Princess Charlene of Monaco, 38, will also not attend this year’s events due to “important health concerns”, her husband, Prince Albert of Monaco made the revelation to UK’s Daily Express.
Media coverage of the Event may also be affected as employees of BBC are refusing to cover the Rio Olympics from Brazil because of fear of contacting the Zika virus. The BBC is the UK’s only free-to-air broadcaster of the event in Rio.
What’s more, there are fears about the violence in Brazil, from robbery to kidnapping and gang wars. Only on Friday (July 22), Aparecida Schunk, the mother in law of Formula One mogul Bernie Ecclestone was kidnapped with a ransom of £28 million demanded (breaking the record of the biggest ransom in Brazilian history).
Brazil is also faced with economic challenges with millions living far below poverty line. Citizens are restless and angry that the country cannot afford the billions splashed on hosting the Olympics.
Olalekan Olonilua for

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