PH team wary of Zika virus threat, but chance to compete in Rio Olympics too good to pass up
The Philippine delegates to the Rio Olympics took time to enjoy the sights of the Brazilian city, including a tour of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. Jerome Ascano

RIO DE JANEIRO — Filipino athletes remained wary of the Zika virus threat, but said competing in the Olympic Games is an opportunity that was simply too good to pass up.

Several athletes from other countries, including Filipino golfer Angelo Que, have decided to skip the Rio Olympics citing concerns over the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne virus which could lead to paralysis and possible birth defects if the afflicted is a pregnant woman.

But Filipino Olympians like Marestella Torres-Sunang, who’s already a mother but plans to have another baby in the future, said they have no choice but to just take extra precautions in order to avoid getting afflicted with the virus.

“Medyo takot din pero siyempre, mag-iingat na lang. Ingatan mo na lang rin ‘yung sarili mo kasi gusto ko pa magka-baby,” said the veteran long jumper.

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has also taken steps in order to protect the national athletes from the virus, providing them with insect repellants and briefing the athletes prior to departure on more safety and protective measures.

To take their mind off the worries over the health threats, Filipino athletes took a much-needed break before entering the final stages of their preparations for the Olympics by touring the city on Sunday (Monday, Manila time).

Hidilyn Diaz, Nestor Colonia, Jessie Khing Lacuna, Kirstie Elaine Alora and Torres-Sunang joined a tour of the charming Brazilian city a day after their arrival to enjoy the scenery, including the famed Christ the Redeemer statue.

The athletes are set to buckle down to work with the August 5 opening of the Olympics fast approaching.

Meanwhile, swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi was the latest Filipino athlete to arrive here for the Olympics. Alkhaldi came from Hawaii after capping off her training for the competition.

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