Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Rio 2016: World number one Jason Day pulls out of Olympic Games amid Zika fears

World number one golfer Jason Day has pulled out of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro due to “concerns about the possible transmission of the Zika virus”.

Day, who won his first major at last year’s PGA Championship, said that he was withdrawing over fears that the mosquito-borne virus may cause birth defects if he and his wife Ellie try for more children.

Zika has been linked to defects in new-born babies, with a major outbreak beginning in Brazil in April 2016.

“It is with deep regret I announce that I will not be competing in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games this coming August in Rio de Janeiro,” Day said in a statement. “The reason for my decision is my concern about the possible transmission of the Zika virus and the potential risks that it may present to my wife’s future pregnancies and to future members of our family.

“I have always placed my family in front of everything else in my life. Medical experts have confirmed that while perhaps slight, a decision to compete in Rio absolutely comes with health risks to me and to my family. My wife Ellie and I have been blessed with two wonderful and healthy children and our plan is to have more.

“While it has always been a major goal to compete in the Olympics on behalf of my country, playing golf cannot take precedent over the safety of our family. I will not place them at risk.”

Day’s absence means that golf will be without two of its biggest stars at its first Olympics in a century, Rory McIlroy having withdrawn earlier this week, also citing worries over Zika.

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