NBA star Bogut calls for transparency on Zika virus threat at Rio Games

Canberra, June 8 (IANS) Australian basketballer Andrew Bogut on Wednesday questioned assurances given by Olympic officials over the risk posed by the Zika virus at this August’s Rio Games, and called for more transparency about the risk posed to athletes.

Bogut, one of Australia’s best basketballers and currently competing in the NBA Finals for the Golden State Warriors, told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) that he would be travelling to Rio despite the risk, but said officials needed to be more honest with athletes not willing to risk their health, reports Xinhua.

He said it was normal practice for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) to say everything is safe, but added that athletes concerned about the threat — particularly women seeking to fall pregnant in the near future — should look to more independent authorities including the World Health Organization (WHO) for more honest advice.

“The (International) Olympic Committee and the AOC are obviously saying everything is fine,” Bogut told the AAP, “They want you to go.”

“I take it with a grain of salt what they’re putting out. Just being bitten by a mosquito and then come down with something is a pretty scary prospect.”

Bogut said he had already taken a number of precautions to protect himself from infection while in Rio, but said officials needed to be transparent for the health of the athletes.

Bogut heads one of Australia’s strongest Olympic basketball outfits, with fellow NBA stars Matthew Dellavedova, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, Cameron Bairstow and Joe Ingles set to feature.

The Rio Games will be held from August 5 to 21.



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