Golfer Rory McIlroy will not compete at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro because of concerns over the zika virus. He says the virus, which is prevalent in Brazil, is “a risk I am unwilling to take”. Former golf world No.1 McIlroy, who planned to compete for Ireland at the games, said he hoped to have children soon with fiancee Erica Stoll and that the risks to unborn children from the virus had weighed heavily on his mind. There have been calls for the Rio Games to be cancelled or postponed because of zika’s spread.
I trust the Irish people will understand my decision. The unwavering support I receive every time I compete in a golf tournament at home or abroad means the world to me
In a statement, 27-year-old McIlroy said that “my health and my family’s health comes before everything else”. He added: “Even though the risk of infection from the zika virus is considered low, it is a risk nonetheless and a risk I am unwilling to take.” But the International Olympic Committee ruled out any changes and said it was working with the World Health Organisation to ensure the safety of the games. The virus has spread around the globe and has been declared a public health emergency by the WHO. There are concerns that infection among pregnant women can lead to birth defects.
It is down to the individual and of course we respect his decision, which he has taken for personal reasons,
The Olympic Committee of Ireland