International Olympic Committee Restricts Competitors in Youth Olympic Games from Ebola-Stricken Areas

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The International Olympic Committee said on Friday that certain athletes from areas impacted by the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa will not be allowed to compete in combat sports or in swimming events at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, which begin on Aug. 16.

The IOC says its thoughts are with those impacted by the outbreak, but in the interest of “ensuring the safety of all those participating,” they will enact precautions to minimize and hopefully prevent the spread of Ebola at the games. All participants from West Africa will be welcome to attend the Games, but that they will be required to have their temperature taken regularly, and undergo regular physical examinations throughout the event.

Additionally, the IOC says it used “health authority guidelines” to determine that the two athletes from the region set to compete in combat sports and the athlete set to participate in swimming events would not take part. The latter decision was made to “completely exclude the risk of potential infection.”

China is prepared, the IOC says, to handle any outbreak, should it occur, however, their actions are believed to be sufficient to prevent that from occurring.

“We regret that due to this issue some young athletes may have suffered twice,” the IOC statement read, “both from the anguish caused by the outbreak in their home countries and by not being able to compete in the Youth Olympic Games.”

The IOC also plans to invite those who will be unable to participate to a sporting competition in Nanjing “and to experience the welcoming atmosphere and spirit of the city and Jiangsu province.”

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