China golfer Feng not to allow Zika fears ruin Rio dream
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[June 30, 2016]
(Reuters) - Top Chinese woman
golfer Shanshan Feng will compete at the Rio Games despite concerns
over Zika virus and the world number 12 says she fears for the
sport's Olympic future following some high-profile withdrawals from
the men's competition.
Golf's return to Olympics for the first time since 1904 has been
hit by pullouts by several top male golfers, including world number
one Jason Day, multiple major champion Rory McIlroy, Fiji's Vijay
Singh and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa.
The mosquito-borne Zika virus, which the World Health Organization
says is spreading rapidly in the Americas, can cause crippling
defects in babies and has been linked to the neurological disorder
Guillain-Barre in adults.
Even though pregnant women appear to be most vulnerable to the
virus, Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) players have
enthusiastically embraced golf's return to the Olympics.
"This is my first Olympic Games and might be my last, so this is my
only chance," Feng said ahead of the Kumho Tire Ladies Open, adding
that she was not planning to have a baby in the next two-three
"I would not skip this chance for such a thing (Zika virus).
Furthermore, I think China golf needs this Olympic Games. As a
Chinese golfer I must take part.
"As for Zika virus, I believe in our science and technology."
U.S. health officials have concluded that Zika infections in
pregnant women can cause microcephaly, a birth defect marked by
small head size that can lead to severe developmental problems in
South African Lee-Anne Pace became the first women's golfer to
withdraw from the Rio Games earlier in the day over Zika concerns.
[to top of second column]
Shanshan Feng hits off
the 11th fairway during the first round of the KPMG Women's PGA
Championship at Sahalee Country Club - South/North Course. Mandatory
Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Feng, who won her only major at the 2012 LPGA Championship, said
individual decisions to withdraw must be respected.
"It might affect the International Olympic Committee's vote next
year to decide if golf stays longer than 2020," the 26-year-old
said. "But we can't do anything.
"As a player, I need to do my business in the Olympic Games.
Hopefully, we can have a medal between the four Chinese players (two
men and two women)."
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Amlan
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