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The OCI are 'extremely disappointed' to be without 'one of the big stars of Rio 2016'

Rory McIlroy has announced his decision to withdraw from the Olympic Games due to fears over the Zika virus.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE OLYMPIC COUNCIL of Ireland has expressed its disappointment at Rory McIlroy’s decision to withdraw from this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero.

The Down golfer, who had opted to represent Ireland instead of Great Britain in Rio, announced this morning that he won’t be travelling to compete in Brazil due to “risk of infection from the Zika virus”.

The OCI has issued a statement in response, in which they explain that while they respect McIlroy’s decision, they’re disappointed that he’ll be absent from the Games.

The statement reads:

“The OCI is extremely disappointed not to be taking Rory with us to Rio. However, as we have always said, it is down to the individual and of course we respect his decision, which he has taken for personal reasons.

“Rory was set to be one of the big stars of Rio 2016, but now there is an opportunity for another Irish golfer to take up the chance to become an Olympian and participate in golf’s historic return to the Olympic Games after a 112-year absence.

“The OCI and our medical team have taken our lead from the IOC on the zika situation, as we do in all matters. They have provided us with every assurance and we have total confidence that the Games will be safe for all athletes.

“We are now following the IOC’s recommendations, as well as the recommendations of the Rio 2016 organisers, the World Health Organisation and national health authorities, to ensure that Team Ireland’s athletes are kept fully updated with the latest and best advice and that they are equipped to take all necessary precautions.

“The OCI regularly updates the private Team Ireland app guidelines and we have held a number of sport seminars and workshops for team leaders, coaches and medical support staff. The OCI is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring the welfare of Team Ireland’s athletes at Rio 2016.”

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Paul Dollery

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