S. Korean surfer infected with virus in Rio Olympic sailing venue

August 19, 2015
Men compete in the RS:X Windsurfer event during a sailing test, ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, in Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Men compete in the RS:X Windsurfer event during a sailing test, ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, in Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

SEOUL, Aug. 20 (Yonhap) — A South Korean wind surfer has been hospitalized with an apparent viral infection after competing in waters scheduled to host sailing events at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Games next year, a report said Thursday.

The Associated Press said Cho Won-woo was recently taken to a Rio hospital Tuesday, local time, with dehydration, vomiting, a headache and dizziness. It said the 20-year-old was back to about 50 to 60 percent strength the following day, though he claimed to know the exact reason why he got sick.

According to the AP, he’s one of four athletes who have fallen into the water so far at the ongoing Olympic sailing test event in Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay. There may be more athletes who are “skittish” about disclosing their conditions, the report added.

Cho’s coach, Danny Ok, was quoted as saying he felt Cho’s illness was due to polluted water.

“Especially in the bay, it’s terrible,” he said, adding that the water was “smelly.” “I can’t imagine how they can have racing in this area.”

Polluted waters in Rio have come under great scrutiny of late, though the organizers have declined to move sailing to cleaner venues for the Summer Games next year, the first in South America.

Ok has also posted pictures of Cho on a stretcher on his Facebook page and wrote: “It seems he got infected from the virus somewhere in the racing site, which is supposed to be safe and clean as an Olympic venue. More than 10 years of lifetime effort can be destroyed in one day! I hope the (International Olympic Committee) and the (International Sailing Federation) consider how the safety issue will be improved for the next year.”

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