Ireland’s Shane Lowry has withdrawn from the Rio Olympics due to concerns surrounding the Zika virus. The Offaly native, who was recently married, said he felt he would be putting his future family plans at risk and based his decision on “firm medical advice”.
He said he felt he would be putting his “family’s health at risk by being in Brazil at the current time.” Lowry added that he has “not taken the decision lightly and it has been a source of much anguish for me over the past week.
“I am a very proud Irishman and I love my country. Hence, I was really looking forward to walking out behind the Tricolour with the rest of the Irish Olympic team in Rio.“While I am bitterly disappointed to be missing out on that experience and the opportunity to win an Olympic medal for Ireland, on this occasion I have to put my family’s welfare first.”
You can read Lowry’s full statement below:
Lowry is the third high profile Irish golfer to withdraw from the games in recent weeks after first Rory McIlroy and then Graeme McDowell announced they would not represent Ireland at the games.The withdrawal of Lowry leaves Padraig Harrington and Seamus Power as the highest ranked Irish golfers who have not ruled themselves out of the competition.
The Olympic Council of Ireland have also released a statement in response to Lowry’s decision.
“The OCI is disappointed to hear of the news that Shane Lowry is withdrawing from Rio 2016 due to his concerns over the Zika virus,” they said.
“However, as we have always said, it is down to the individual and of course we respect Shane’s decision, which he has taken for personal reasons.
“The OCI already note that we are very fortunate to have three time major champion Pádraig Harrington who now looks likely to gain automatic qualification. Seamus Power is currently the next highest ranked Irish player and his possible qualification will be determined on the 11th July.”