Kenya ‘could pull out of Rio Olympics’

David Rudisha

World record holder David Rudisha may not be able to defend his 800m Olympic title

Kenya could pull out of this summer’s Rio Olympics if the Zika virus in Brazil reaches “epidemic levels”, says the head of Kenya’s Olympic committee.

The outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease in South America is being linked to severe birth defects.

Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus a global public health emergency.

Kipchoge Keino said: “We are not going to risk taking Kenyans there if this Zika virus reaches epidemic levels.”

Brazilian authorities insist there will be no risk to athletes and spectators, except pregnant women, when the Rio Games take place in August.

The International Olympic Committee says it is in “close contact” with organisers, while Olympic venues will be inspected daily in the lead-up to and during the Games.

Kenya topped the medal table at last year’s World Athletics Championships and the country’s absence would be severely felt on the track.

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