2 Jul 2016

Sport: Cooks believe Zika concerns in Rio over-blown

10:11 am on 2 July 2016

Cook Islands sporting officials believe concerns about the Zika virus at the Rio Olympics have been blown out of proportion.

A number of top athletes have withdrawn from the upcoming global games, including the world's top-ranked golfer, Jason Day, and Fiji's Vijay Singh, while many others have expressed concerns.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro Photo: 123rf.com

The World Health Organisation said last month there was a "very low risk" of further spread of the mosquito-born virus as a result of the Olympics.

The Cook Islands Chef de Mission in Rio, Robert Graham, said their athletes had been asking questions about the virus but they were confident in the advice they had received from authorities.

"A few years ago we had Zika here in the Cook Islands, where we managed to rock that off and take care of that, and so we've been through it," said Mr Graham.

"We're taking our advice from the IOC, what the IOC's doing. They're updating us on a weekly basis on what's happening and what the Rio government are doing to counter it," he said.

"If they say the Zika is too dangerous and the Games are postponed then the Games are postponed but other than that sometimes the media tends to blow it out of proportion in relation to the Games."

Robert Graham said, in his experience, every Olympic Games has its own concerns but things tend to run smoothly once the event gets underway.

Seven athletes have been selected to represent the Cook Islands in Brazil across four sports.

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Photo: 123RF