Ebola virus forces African judokas to skip 2014 Judo World Championship in Russia

CHELYABINSK, (PNA/ITAR-TASS) — African judokas decided against competing in the 2014 Judo World Championship in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk later this month citing Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, Dmitry Chernykh, a vice president of the Russian Judo Federation, said on Wednesday.

The Russian sports official said African judokas pulled out from the competition in the Russian Urals city with over a million population as they did not want to subject to danger other athletes competing in the global championship, which is scheduled for August 25-31.

Chernykh, however, did not specify which African countries pulled out from the championship due to Ebola, which, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) estimations, had already left 1,145 people dead and 2,127 infected in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria since the outbreak of the virus early this month.

The WHO describes Ebola virus disease as “a severe, often fatal illness, with a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent.” Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people. People are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus. The incubation period is 2 to 21 days. There is no known cure or vaccine for the disease.

The Judo World Championship is for the first time held in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk and is expected to be attended by athletes representing some 120 countries. The sport of Judo is particularly supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The 61-year-old Russian president is a black belt holder in judo and he regularly practices. Over two years ago the International Judo Federation granted him an eighth Dan for his work to promote this sport.

In his youth Putin was judo champion of his home town Leningrad, now called St. Petersburg. In 2008, he starred in the judo video “Let’s Learn Judo With Vladimir Putin”.