HOPEFUL: Eungella’s Craig Burns is determined to run a time which will qualify him for the Rio Olympics before June. If he runs the time, the outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil won’t stop him from competing.
HOPEFUL: Eungella’s Craig Burns is determined to run a time which will qualify him for the Rio Olympics before June. If he runs the time, the outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil won’t stop him from competing. Contributed

Hoping for Olympic spot despite outbreak of Zika virus

AN outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil hasn't stopped Eungella-born runner Craig Burns' sprinting down the path he hopes will land him at the Rio Olympic Games this year.

The athlete currently holds a spot in the 'shadow squad' for the Olympics, which will be set in concrete if he runs a qualifying time before June.

"I haven't been to the Olympics before but I have been on Commonwealth Games and World Champ teams and they always look after us," Mr Burns said.

"I'm sure whoever is in charge will be going through all the steps (to best protect athletes from Zika)."

While Mr Burns's spot in the team is yet to be finalised, he has received emails from Athletics Australia detailing the measures which would be taken to protect athletes at the Rio Olympics.

"There will be a base camp set up in the (United) States," Mr Burns said.

"They said athletes will stay there three days before their event this time, even if the Olympics have started, just as a precaution."

Mr Burns said he wouldn't blame other athletes for boycotting the games because of Zika, but he would be surprised.

"Your health is important, it's a big thing," Mr Burns said.

"If I was a pregnant woman, I probably wouldn't go. Or if I'd already been to the Olympics four or five times.

"But (otherwise) personally I would be (thinking) like 'Why mate?' I've trained 10 years for this."

Zika virus

 Outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus in Brazil was deemed a 'public health emergency of international concern' on Tuesday by World Health Organisation.

 It has been linked to developmental problems in babies.

 There have been 23 cases reported in Australia, with all affected people infected overseas.



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