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Last Minute Preparation to Blame for Poor Olympics Qualification, Zika Virus Spreads Ahead of Games

President of the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) Abner Xoagub said Sports Federations should not be blamed for poor Athletes participation at Olympic Games. “It’s for us as a nation to say that 2016 Olympic Games are coming, as a nation how do we work towards that, so the agendas of the Government, Directorate of sport, Sport Commission, Olympic Committee, National Federations etc. must be geared towards that,” said Xoagub. He said all these organisations must look into that and prepare their programmes. Three able bodied athletes have so far qualified for Rio Summer Olympics. The deadline for qualification is 18 July 2016, with the Games scheduled for August 2016.

Meanwhile ahead of the Games that take place in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, the Latin American country is at the centre of an outbreak of the Zika virus that is spread through mosquito bites with no known vaccine. The virus has been linked to a medical condition known as microcephaly, a disabling birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains. In many cases, the babies do not survive. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the virus a global public health emergency. WHO has said that as many as four million people could be infected this year in the Americas alone. The latest figures of Zika cases indicate a 23 percent increase over last week’s total, while in pregnant women the number went up 57.8 percent. International reports show that Kenya recently threatened to pull out of the Games if the Zika virus reaches “epidemic levels”.

Spotlight news this week sat down with President of the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) on Olympic qualification as well as preparation for Team Namibia and with WHO Representative to Namibia Professor Monir Islam on the Zika virus outbreak in Latin America particularly Brazil, protection and the effects of the virus.