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Some athletes from Ebola-hit nations barred from competing at Youth Olympics

Aug 15, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT

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Three athletes from Ebola-hit African nations will not be allowed to compete at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, the International Olympic Committee and Nanjing Games organizers said Friday.

Two athletes in combat sports and one athlete in aquatics have been barred due to “a policy which balances the health needs of all, with respect for the rights of the young athletes from the region,” according to a joint press release from the IOC and the Nanjing Organizing Committee.

The combat sports athletes will be held out due to “health authority guidelines.” The aquatics athlete won’t participate “based on the inability to completely exclude the risk of potential infection.”

The remaining athletes who are competing from the region affected by Ebola will be subject to regular temperature and physical assessment.

Organizers said all delegations are welcome at the Youth Olympics.

“We regret that due to this issue some young athletes may have suffered twice, both from the anguish caused by the outbreak in their home countries and by not being able to compete in the Youth Olympic Games,” the press release said.

The Ebola virus outbreak has killed more than 1,000 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, according to The Associated Press.

Liberia and Sierra Leone reportedly decided not to travel to Nanjing for the Youth Olympics, a competition for athletes between ages 14 and 18. The Opening Ceremony is Saturday.

The IOC and Youth Olympic organizers have been working with Chinese health authorities and the World Health Organization.

“We have been reassured by the health authorities that there have been no suspected cases and that the risk of infection is extremely unlikely,” the press release said.

The three athletes not allowed to compete will be invited to take part in a later competition in Nanjing.

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