Singapore swimmer suffers dengue setback in Rio quest

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 15, 2016 12:46 AM

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A Singaporean swimmer has seen his hopes of qualifying for the Zika-threatened Rio de Janeiro Olympics hampered by another mosquito-borne illness after he contracted dengue fever.

Danny Yeo, a 25-year-old freestyle specialist, contracted the virus two weeks ago and said he was unlikely to be at 100 percent for his last Olympic trial at the Singapore National Age Group Championships (SNAG) from March 16-20.

"If I said it wouldn't affect me, it would be a lie," he was quoted as saying in Monday's Straits Times.

Yeo won two freestyle relay golds at last year's Southeast Asian Games and had already clocked Olympic 'B' qualifying standards for the 100, 200 and 400 meter freestyle events, putting him in contention for a spot at the Aug. 5-21 Games.

He was hoping to clock 'A' times, though, to ensure participation in Brazil, where Games organizers have tried to calm athlete fears after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika an international health emergency that could infect as many as four million people in the Americas.

While the Zika virus is passed on to humans by mosquitoes, two cases in the United States suggest it may also be transmitted sexually.

The illness, until recently viewed as relatively mild, has sparked concern because of a possible link between infection in pregnancy and microcephaly, a rare birth defect in which infants are born with abnormally small heads that can be accompanied by developmental problems.

(Reporting by Patrick Johnston; Editing by John O'Brien)