A waste if athletes skip Rio over Zika, says US volleyballer

Four-time Olympic volleyballer and twice runner-up Logan Tom is in Singapore to conduct training clinics. She believes that top athletes should be able to shut out fears and distractions during competition in Rio.
Four-time Olympic volleyballer and twice runner-up Logan Tom is in Singapore to conduct training clinics. She believes that top athletes should be able to shut out fears and distractions during competition in Rio.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Despite concerns over Olympians heading to Zika-hit Brazil, two-time Olympic volleyball silver medallist Logan Tom downplayed fears and feels athletes should not be too afraid when they compete in August.

This comes after Australian golfer Marc Leishman pulled out of the Rio Games over fears of transmitting the mosquito-borne virus to his wife, while British reigning Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill may skip a training camp in Brazil before the Olympics.

Tom said: "If I had the option to go to Rio and had the choice to go, I would definitely go and take the chance (with Zika), for sure.

"It's an individual choice but you're talking about the Olympics and athletes who have been training for four years or their entire lives even. It'll be a waste."

The American also stated that an Olympian would be able to shut out the Zika fears and be fully focused on competing once they land in Brazil and added: "When you're talking about an Olympic-level athlete, you have to be very good at separating outside distractions when you're on the court or playing.

"They might think about it and beat it in their heads before they get there but once they start competing, it'll be fine."

Tom, who represented the United States indoor volleyball team in four consecutive Olympics from 2000 to 2012, is also an experienced beach volleyballer - playing professionally from 2004 to 2007.

She arrived in Singapore on Tuesday and conducted a training clinic for the Singapore beach volleyball developmental team yesterday at the Sports Hub's beach volleyball court.

Tomorrow, she will be at ITE College East to meet the recipients of the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim scholarships, along with the footballers of Valencia.

The 34-year-old will also be at Dunman High School today to conduct another training clinic with schools.

National female youth beach volleyball player Kilani Daane, 16, was excited at the prospect of training with Tom.

"Ever since I started playing volleyball when I was 13-years-old, I've always looked up to her. She's always been my idol," she said.

"Logan Tom is a great player and of course, she'd share some tips with us which I'm excited to learn."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2016, with the headline 'A waste if athletes skip Rio over Zika, says US volleyballer'. Print Edition | Subscribe