Leona Maguire reiterates desire to compete at Rio Olympics

Hasn’t been perturbed by Zika virus fears despite male counterparts pulling out

Leona Maguire has reiterated her desire to represent Ireland at the Olympics despite fears over the Zika virus. Photograph: Getty

Leona Maguire has reiterated her desire to represent Ireland at the Olympics despite fears over the Zika virus. Photograph: Getty

 

Golfer Leona Maguire has said representing Ireland at this year’s Rio Olympics is worth any risks attached to the Zika virus.

Speaking on The Ray D’Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 the 21-year-old reiterated her desire to represent Ireland in Brazil, despite a number of her male counterparts dropping out of the games.

Earlier this week Shane Lowry became the latest male golfer to withdraw from the Olympics, joining world number one Jason Day and Rory McIlroy on a growing list of those who will be conspicuous by their absence in August.

However Maguire, who with a current world ranking of 48 is set to be one of the top 60 women golfers who will qualify for the games, has not been perturbed by fears over the virus.

She said:“We’ve been consulting a lot with medical experts and have been in touch with doctors on an on-going basis.

“From everything they are saying, there is a 5 per cent risk, from a 90 per cent risk earlier on in the year. To represent your country at the Olympics, I think it’s worth that 5 per cent risk.”

Leona and her twin sister Lisa, who will caddy for her in Brazil, are the top-ranked college pair in America, and she has no intention of pulling out of the Olympics if she qualifies.

She said: “It’s disappointing for the people of Ireland that we have some of the best players in the world and they are not going.

“It’s a complete honour and privilege to be going. I’d give my right arm to go to Rio to get the chance at a gold medal...The athletes that are going are 100% committed.”

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