Zika threat bugging Chinese shuttler Wang

Wed Jun 8, 2016 5:21am EDT
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By Ian Ransom

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The threat of Zika at the Rio Olympics is on the mind of many athletes but few more so than China's former badminton world champion Wang Yihan, who was attacked mercilessly by insects while competing in Indonesia last week.

The svelte 28-year-old, who won silver in the women's singles at the London Games, was still smarting from red bites up and down her arms as she competed at the Australian Badminton Open in Sydney on Wednesday.

"They're itchy," she told Reuters, lathered in sweat after a tough opening round win over Scotland's Kirsty Gilmour at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre.

"And the sweat makes it worse.

"I'm really not sure what kind of bugs they were. I don't think they were mosquitoes. Maybe it was on the bed that I was sleeping on.

"I bought some cream for them, but they're still itchy."

A number of athletes have already pulled out of the Olympics citing health risks associated with the mosquito-borne virus, which can cause crippling birth defects and development problems in babies.

Others are declining to bring family members and loved ones with them, while Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford decided to freeze his sperm to safeguard future plans for extending his young family.   Continued...

Badminton – Indonesia Open – Women's semi-final singles match – Jakarta, Indonesia – 4/6/16 – China's Wang Yihan returns a shot to Spain's Carolina Marin. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside