FILIPINO golfer Angelo Que has withdrawn from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of concerns over the Zika virus.
His pullout came after three of the world’s top four players also pulled out, with golf poised to return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence.
Que, who is no. 55 in the Olympic rankings, confirmed his decision in a letter sent to the National Golf Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Olympic Committee through chef de mission Joey Romasanta.
“It’s a great honor and opportunity to be part of the Olympics. But there are many factors that contributed to my decision. The biggest is my concern on the Zika virus. I have put a lot of thought on this. My family will always come first,” said Que in an email which reached Romasanta.
Romasanta said there will be no replacement for Que, following communications with the camp of the NGAP.
“We have to respect the decision. Because there are athletes who want to be in the Olympics. But, once family matters become a concern, you have accept and respect their decision,” stated Romasanta.
The NGAP, he said, is looking into the possibility of bringing in Antonio Lascuna if he is eligible.
On the other hand, Dottie Ardina was earlier picked as a replacement in case Que backs out.
But, Ardina also backed out, citing the same reasons as Que.
Because of this, Miguel Tabuena, who is ranked no. 37, will be the only Filipino golfer going.
So far, US Open champion Dustin Johnson has also withdrawn from the Rio Games on Friday because of concerns over the Zika virus.
Johnson, who is no. 2 in the world after his US Open title and another World Golf Championship victory last week, is the 13th player to pull out of the Rio Games.
Eight others, including world No. 1 Jason Day and world No. 4 Rory McIlroy, specifically have cited Zika as the reason for skipping the games.
The mosquito-borne Zika virus, for which there is no effective vaccine or cure, is mild in most people but can cause a serious birth defect known as microcephaly, as well as other fetal neural damage.
Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus) and is prevalent in Brazil.