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Jason Day: Golfer becomes NINTH to withdraw from Rio Olympics over Zika fears as he and his wife want more kids

Jason Day

Marc Leishman, Rory McIlroy, Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Vijay Singh have also cited Zika as the primary reason for pulling out of the games in Rio.

Adam Scott and Graeme McDowell dropped out of the running for other reasons.

Leishman, another Australian golfer, said he would not be playing because his wife’s immune system is weak from contracting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) last year.

He told reporters it was an unfortunate decision to miss golf’s first Olympics, but an easy one.

However, the staggering number of drop-outs is prompting some figures in the sporting world to call for golf to be scrapped entirely from the games this year.

Barry Maister, a member of the International Olympic Committee, spoke on New Zealand radio show Newstalk the sport has surrendered its position as a top sport by losing its top players.

‘I don’t like it, and I don’t think the sport should be allowed to continue in the Games under that scenario,’ Maister said.

‘Once they’ve got in, they have got to deliver. Just getting in with your name, and then putting up some second- or third-rate players is so far from the Olympic ideal or the expectation of the Olympic Movement.

‘The Olympics is about the best, and they pledged the best.

‘Quite frankly, any sport that cannot deliver its best athletes, in my view, should not be there.’

Golf is not the only sport to take a hit.

The USA basketball team will travel to Rio without the likes of LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers), the star of the moment, and Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors), this year’s MVP.

Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), who came second in the stakes for MVP, will also skip the games.

So too will Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), John Wall (Washington Wizards), and LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs).

A growing body of scientific evidence has linked the virus to the severe birth defect microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with smaller than normal size heads and often brain damage

A growing body of scientific evidence has linked the virus to the severe birth defect microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with smaller than normal size heads and often brain damage

The Rio 2016 sign stands in front of the Olympic Village during a media tour in Rio

America’s star cyclist Tejay Van Garderen cited Zika as he withdrew his name from consideration for the road cycling team at the beginning of June.

He was the first major name to officially pull out.

His wife is currently pregnant, and he said he did not want to risk infecting their unborn baby with Zika, which is sexually-transmitted.

Tennis, meanwhile, retains its top players.

Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Garbine Muguruza, and Serena Williams will all be there.

Zika can cause crippling birth defects and, in adults, has been linked to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre.

Although the virus, spread by mosquitoes, causes only mild symptoms, it can have serious complications particularly for unborn babies.

A growing body of scientific evidence has linked the virus to the severe birth defect microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with smaller than normal size heads and often brain damage.

In February, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak sweeping through South and Central America a public health emergency of international concern.

INCREASE IN ABORTIONS IN BRAZIL AFTER ZIKA WAS DECLARED CONCERN

Fears over complications relating to the Zika virus are driving more pregnant women in Latin America to seek abortions, new research suggests.

In many of these countries, abortion is either illegal or highly restricted, leaving pregnant women with few options and potentially driving them to use unsafe methods, experts today warned.

Many are seeking to access abortion drugs without medical supervision, while others are being driven to visit underground providers, the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine notes.

In November last year, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert about the Zika virus in Latin America.

Following the PAHO alert, several countries issued health advisory warnings, including urging women to avoid pregnancy.

Fears over complications relating to the Zika virus, spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito (pictured) are driving more pregnant women in Latin America to seek abortions, new research suggests

For several years, one option for women seeking an abortion in Latin America has been Women on Web, a non-profit organization that provides medical abortion outside the formal healthcare setting through online telemedicine, in countries where safe abortion is not universally available.

A team of researchers from the US and UK analyzed data on requests for abortion through the website between January 1, 2010 and March 2, 2016 in 19 Latin-American countries, assessing whether requests for abortion increased beyond expected trends following the PAHO alert.

The researchers found that in almost all of the countries that had issued health warnings about Zika and had legal restrictions on abortions, the number of requests for abortion through Women on Web rose significantly – effectively doubling in Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuala, and increasing by over a third in most of the other countries.

The study showed Brazil had the highest increase in demand for abortion, a 108 per cent rise, followed by Ecuador (107.7 per cent) and Venezuela (93.3 per cent).

In countries that had issued no health warnings, there was no statistically-significant increase.




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About the author

Sydney Chesterfield

Poet, Playwright, Philosopher, Humanitarian, mad lover of children and unflinching fighter for equality on all grounds viz. Women's rights, child rights, sine die.

Twitter: @syd_field