DOH may bar Pinoy athletes from Rio Olympics
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) may stop Filipino athletes from participating in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil due to the prevailing Zika epidemic.

Lyndon Lee Suy, DOH spokesman, said yesterday the department will come out with a recommendation on whether or not Filipino athletes should be allowed to join the games before the start of the Olympics in August.

“If the (Zika) cases are still high, then maybe we shouldn’t allow them to go. But if it is already under control, why should we prevent them from joining?” Lee Suy asked.

He said they would have to assess the situation by July, then come up with an advisory.

“What we want is for our athletes to be able to focus on their preparations. We do not want them being bothered and lose their focus on their training,” Lee Suy said.

Thousands of athletes are set to converge in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics.

The Philippines is expected to field at least 15 athletes in various sports.

The national basketball team, Gilas Pilipinas, may also join if it wins the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament to be held in Manila in July. 

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