South Africa’s Pace first LPGA player to skip Rio Olympics

Pakistan Observer - - SPORTS -

LOS AN­GE­LES —South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace be­came the first woman golfer to with­draw from the Rio Olympics, say­ing Wed­nes­day she will not play in Brazil be­cause she fears con­tract­ing the Zika virus.

“I was very much look­ing for­ward to fam­ily’s health must come first,” Pace said. “I’m a very proud South African and I love rep­re­sent­ing my coun­try whilst I play on the LPGA Tour around the world.”

The LPGA also re­leased a state­ment re­gard­ing play­ers com­pet­ing in Rio, stat­ing it will sup­port and re­spect what­ever choice any of its play­ers make re­gard­ing Zika and the Olympics.

“Play­ing in the Rio 2016 Olympics is an in­cred­i­ble honor for any ath­lete, and we are ex­cited for golf’s re­turn to the Games,” the tour state­ment said. “We also re­al­ize that the Zika virus is a con­cern for many, par­tic­u­larly for women with plans for a fam­ily in the near-term. The de­ci­sion that any player makes is a per­sonal one and the LPGA will re­spect and sup­port our mem­ber’s de­ci­sions as it re­lates to par­tic­i­pat­ing in Rio 2016.”

Many of the world’s top-ranked men’s play­ers have said no to Rio, in­clud­ing top-ranked Ja­son Day of Aus­tralia, his coun­try­men Adam Scott and Marc Leish­man, Fiji’s Vi­jay Singh, South Africans Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Bren­dan Grace and po­ten­tial Ir­ish team mem­bers Rory McIl­roy, Shane Lowry and Graeme McDow­ell.

New Zealand 19-year-old Ly­dia Ko, the women’s world num­ber one, is go­ing to Rio and ex­cited about her chance at gold.

“It’s not ev­ery week, not ev­ery year you get to do this, to rep­re­sent your coun­try amongst the world best ath­letes in other sports, so I’m su­per ex­cited about it and there are just so many pos­i­tives from Rio that golf can take.”

World num­ber three Park In-Bee of South Korea has a left thumb in­jury that might keep her out of Rio but oth­er­wise top LPGA play­ers have not pulled out.

The two US play­ers set to com­pete, Lexi Thomp­son and Stacy Lewis, have in­di­cated they plan to par­tic­i­pate.—AFP

LAHORE: Fawad Rana, Na­jam Sethi, Naila Bhatti, Atif Rana, Aqib Javed with Mu­das­sar Nazar cer­e­mony. at his 60th birth­day

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