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Olympics: World No.1 golfer Day withdraws over Zika fears

Controversy over the 5 to 21 August Games has grown as more about the disease becomes known.

FILE: Jason Day of Australia. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - The world's top-ranked golfer Jason Day on Tuesday withdrew from August's Rio de Janeiro Olympics, citing fears over the Zika virus.

"The reason for my decision is my concerns about the possible transmission of the Zika virus and the potential risks that it may present to my wife's future pregnancies and to future members of our family," the Australian said in a statement posted on Twitter.

"While it has always been a major goal to compete in the Olympics on behalf of my country, playing golf cannot take precedent over the safety of our family. I will not place them at risk," the 28-year-old Day added.

Golf is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904, but a number of big names, including four-times major champion Rory McIlroy, Fiji's Vijay Singh and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, have pulled out due to Zika concerns.

The mosquito-borne Zika virus can cause crippling birth defects and, in adults, has been linked to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre. Controversy over the 5-21 August Games has grown as more about the disease becomes known.

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