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Ebola out-break restricts four beach volleyball teams

IOC President Thomas Bach - "The task of the organizing committee and the IOC was to find the right balance between the safety of the athletes present and the safety of the people of Nanjing and China."

Nanjing, China, August 17, 2014 - Beach Volleyball teams from Nigeria and Sierra Leone will not be competing in the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Saturday that athletes from affected countries with Ebola will not be participating in the Games.

IOC president Thomas Bach said local Chinese organizers also wanted to prevent an Ebola outbreak in the world's most-populated country.  "The task of the organizing committee and the IOC was to find the right balance between the safety of the athletes present and the safety of the people of Nanjing and China," Bach told a media conference.

The restrictions were announced on Friday, just two days before the opening ceremony and a day after the last of the 3,800 athletes arrived at the Youth Olympic Village  The restrictions were a precautionary measure, Bach said Saturday, and denied the Ebola-hit countries were banned from the Youth Olympics.  "There is no ban or sanction. We left it then to the relevant countries to make their own decisions," the IOC president said.

“According to the recent IOC communications, it is confirmed that both the men and women teams from Nigeria and Sierra Leone will not play any matches in the Beach Volleyball Tournaments of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games due to ‘force majeure’,” said FIVB Beach Volleyball delegate Marco “Tullio” Teixeira..  “All their matches will be treated as forfeits according to FIVB Specific Competition Regulation.”

With the restrictions, the teams of Phillip Akande/Samuel Morris (men's Pool A) and Hajara Audu/Bitrus Jummai (women's Pool C) of Nigeria, and Abubakarr Kamara/Patrick Lombi (men's Pool D) and Kadiatu Conteh/Aminata/Turay (women's Pool B) of Sierra Leone will remain in the composition of their groups, but their matches will be forfeited.

"Since we did not know the official status of the Nigeria and Sierra Leone players at the time of our technical meeting, we completed the drawing of groups as scheduled, said Tullio.  "It is unfortunate that the athletes from those two countries cannot compete and we all wish them well."

Once the groups were determined, the event's FIVB control committee worked out a schedule that would not disrupt the competition format with all the matches for the Nigeria and Sierra Leone teams being scheduled early in the morning on each pool play day.  With the forfeits Sunday, the teams from Switzerland (Pool B, Dunja Gerson/Esther Rohrer) and Turkey (Pool C, Esra Cetin/Selin Yurtsever) were “awarded two points for the win and a score of 2-0 (0-0 and 0-0),” according to Tullio.

With nine days of Beach Volleyball competition, the five days of pool play matches for both men and women participants ends Friday.  The top four teams from each group advance to the single-elimination bracket rounds starting next Sunday.  The women’s semi-final and medal matches will be played August 26 followed by the men’s “final four” matches August 27 at the 2,000-seat Beach Volleyball venue at the Nanjing Sports Park Complex.

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