• As Australian athletes get Zika-proof condoms
BY PAUL EREWUBA
FORMER Africa champion in Long Jump, Yusuf Ali has declared that Nigeria is already behind schedule in the preparation of her Athletes for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Speaking against this backdrop, Ali said the country is not on course to do well at the Games.
“The budget was signed just last week, hopefully funds will soon be released, but, where does that leave Team Nigeria. We are already very late in our preparations for the Olympics,” Ali said.
On Nigeria’s chances of returning from the games with a medal, Ali, whose national record is yet to be bro- ken after thirty years, expressed confident that Nigerian athletics could still spring some surprises.
“It is still possible for us to win medals. Our athletes have a way of rising to the occasion when the chips are down.”
Meanwhile, Australia’s Olympic athletes would be given extraprotective condoms to guard them from the Zika virus at Rio 2016. The “Dual Protect Viva Gel” condoms contain a special lubricant which acts as an antiviral agent.
Zika, the health scare which had caused organisers a major headache ahead of the Olympic Opening Ceremony on August 5, is most commonly known as a virus transmitted by mosquitoes.
However, it could also be trans- mitted sexually.
The condoms, to be provided by Starpharma Holdings and Ansell Limited, were said to be a world first.
Laboratory tests showed near- complete protection against Zika with the antiviral agent also said to “inactivate” HIV, genital herpes and HPV. These are all vi- ruses which can cause sexually transmitted infections.
“The health and wellbeing of the team comes first and our association with Starpharma will provide extra protection for everyone on the team, and is a common sense approach to a very serious problem we are facing in Rio,” said Kitty Chiller, Australia’s Chef de Mission.
The condoms may now be rolled out to other countries, with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommending safer sex at the Games or abstaining entirely.
“As a global leader in protection solutions, Ansell is proud to sup- port the Australian Olympic team during the Olympic Games in Brazil,” said Jeyan Heper, President and general manager of the Sexual Wellness Global Business Unit at Ansell.
Starpharma’s chief executive officer, Dr Jackie Fairley, added: “Given sexual transmission of Zika virus is of increasing importance, the potent activity of Starpharma’s VivaGel against Zika could prove very significant.”