Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 23rd 2016 Contents A50
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, June 23, 2016
Golfer Rory McIlroy became
one of the most high-profile
sports stars to opt out of the Rio
de Janeiro Olympics because of
concerns about the Zika virus,
saying yesterday it is "a risk I
am unwilling to take."
"After speaking with those
closest to me, I ve come to realise
that my health and my family s
health comes before anything
else," the four-time major winner
said in a statement released by
his management company.
The 27-year-old McIlroy said
this month that he and his fiancee,
Erica Stoll, may consider starting
a family "in the next couple of
years." Zika is a mosquito-borne
virus which has been linked to
severe birth defects and possible
neurological problems in adults.
"Even though the risk of infec-
tion from the Zika virus is con-
sidered low," McIlroy said, "it is
a risk nonetheless and a risk I am
unwilling to take." The fourth-
ranked McIlroy was scheduled to
play for Ireland as golf makes its
return to the Olympics for the
first time since 1904.
The Olympic Council of Ireland
(OCI) said it was "extremely dis-
appointed" not to have McIlroy
on its team. "However, as we have
always said, it is down to the indi-
vidual and of course we respect
his decision, which he has taken
for personal reasons," the OCI
said in a statement.
Next in line for the Irish would
be Graeme McDowell of Northern
Ireland, whose wife is expecting
their second child about two
weeks after the Olympics. If he
chooses not to play, the spot
would fall to Padraig Harrington.
Marc Leishman of Australia
and Charl Schwartzel of South
Africa are golfers to have already
pulled out of the Olympic tour-
nament specifically because of
Zika. Leishman cited concerns
over the health of his family---his
wife, Audrey, nearly died last year
from toxic shock syndrome---while
Schwartzel has said he and his
wife intend to have more children
and the risk of getting the virus
is too great.
American cyclist Tejay van
Garderen is another sportsman
to cite Zika as the reason behind
not going to Rio. Basketball star
Stephen Curry has dropped out
of the games, not specifically cit-
ing Zika but noting that "other
factors" played a role in the deci-
sion. Adam Scott, Louis Oost-
huizen and Vijay Singh are other
golfers to have also said they won t
compete at Rio, mostly due to
This might not be the last of
golfers to pull out. Jason Day, the
No. 1 player in the world, earlier
this month began to raise doubts
that he would go to Rio because
of Zika. They have two children,
and he said his wife wants more.
"I don t think it s an Olympic
issue. I don t think it s a Rio issue,"
Day said at the Memorial. "I just
think it s a medical issue attached
to what happens if I go there, get
it and bring it back. They don t
know. The recommendation from
the CDC (Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention) is x. You
don t know how long it s going
to last in your body. So I m a little
wary about it.
SAO PAULO---A jaguar used in
an Olympic torch relay ceremo-
ny was shot to death after it
escaped its leash and tried to
attack a soldier, the Brazilian
army said Tuesday.
The army s press office said
that Juma the jaguar was on dis-
play as part of ceremonies Mon-
day at the Jungle Warfare
Instruction Centre in Manaus.
The Olympic torch is traveling
throughout Brazil leading up to
the August 5 opening ceremo-
"Juma was a docile animal
used to living among people at
the centre," the army said in a
statement, adding that soon after
the ceremonies ended Juma
escaped from his leash and fled
into the zoo maintained by the
When the jaguar tried to attack
a soldier sent to help recapture
it, handlers shot the animal with
tranquilisers. That failed to stop
it, so the animal was shot with
a pistol in the head.
"We were wrong to allow the
Olympic Torch, a symbol of
peace and of the union among
the peoples to be displayed
alongside a wild animal in
chains," the local Olympic organ-
ising committee said on it Face-
book page. "This scene is con-
trary to our beliefs and values.
We are very sad with the out-
come that happened after the
passing of the torch. We guar-
antee that we will not see more
situations like this in the Rio 2016
Ibama, Brazil s environmental
protection agency, told the Ama-
zonia Real news agency it did not
authorise Juma s presence at the
event. "It is unfortunate and sad
that these animals are being
exposed to events like this,"
Ibama told Amazonia Real.
Diogo Lagroteria, a veterinarian
and environmental analyst at
Ibama, told the G1 news portal
that a jaguar can never be con-
sidered a domesticated or docile
"The incident happened due
to the simple fact that it was a
jaguar and wild animals will
always be wild animals. There is
no way to predict their reaction
to this kind of situation."
The shooting of the jaguar fol-
lows the recent killings of a gorilla
at a Cincinnati zoo and alligators
at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
The deaths have sparked outrage
among animal rights groups.
"PETA urges everyone who is
upset by the needless death of
this jaguar, the gorilla Harambe,
or countless other exploited wild
animals to stay far away from
any business that puts living
beings on display for human
amusement," the People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals,
or PETA, said in a statement.
ROME---Rome s bid for the
2024 Olympics is in serious trou-
ble with the city s new mayor
maintaining her opposition to
"My position isn t changing.
Right now it s really not a priority
for Romans," Virginia Raggi told
Euronews on Wednesday in her
first interview since being elect-
ed.Raggi pointed to spiraling
deficits in Olympic cities.
"Already with 13 billion euros
($15 billion) in debt, Rome can t
permit taking on more debt to
make cathedrals in the desert,"
Representing the anti-estab-
lishment 5-Star Movement, Raggi
won a runoff Sunday to become
Rome s first female mayor and,
at age 37, also its youngest.
Raggi said her opposition to
the bid has nothing to do with
fears of corruption or Mafia
"My no is very clear. It starts
with the numbers," she said. "His-
torical data from the Olympics---
discounting eventual episodes of
corruption---shows us that the
costs are not sustainable. Other
cities have already withdrawn their
bids for these reasons. And I don t
think they were thinking about
corruption or Mafia infiltrations."
Italian Olympic Committee
president Giovanni Malago
acknowledged Tuesday that IOC
rules for candidates require undi-
vided support from the city, the
Olympic committee and the gov-
ernment, and that if one of those
pulls out, "we would be too weak."
Raggi said during her campaign
that she wants to focus on "every-
day items before extraordinary
ones." However, previous Rome
Mayor Ignazio Marino formally
submitted Rome s 2024 bid to the
International Olympic Committee
last year after a city council vote
showed overwhelming support.
The other 2024 bidders are
Budapest, Hungary; Los Angeles;
and Paris. The IOC will select the
host city in September 2017.
If Raggi continues to oppose
the bid, the candidacy could be
decided in a referendum.
If the bid is rejected, it would
mark Rome s second withdrawal
in four years after then-premier
Mario Monti in 2012 stopped
Rome s plans to bid for the 2020
Games because of fiscal condi-
for Froome at
Tour de France
PARIS---Defending champion Chris Froome
will enjoy the support of a Team Sky squad
featuring strong climbers at the Tour de
France next month.
Aiming to win cycling s showpiece race for
a third time, Froome will be joined by Sergio
Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, Mikel Landa, Mikel
Nieve, Wout Poels, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard
and Geraint Thomas on the roads of France
The Tour starts on July 2 and finishes on
the Champs-Elysees three weeks later.
"I feel in good shape coming into the race
this year and am fortunate to have a strong
team around me, both on and off the bike,"
said Froome, the 2013 and 2015 champion.
The 3,519-kilometre race features 28 moun-
tain passes this year, as well as two individual
time trials, a route that perfectly suits all-
Among those expected to play a key role in
protecting the British rider in the Pyrenees
and the Alps are Henao, Landa, Poels, Nieve
Henao helped Froome to success at both
Paris-Nice and the Criterium du Dauphine
this season and will be making his debut at
The Colombian was withdrawn from racing
by Team Sky in April after concerns over his
biological data emerged, but he has since been
cleared by the International Cycling Union
Landa, who was the Team Sky leader at the
Giro d Italia but was forced to withdraw because
of illness, will also compete in his first Tour.
Poels played an important role last year at
l Alpe d Huez to help Froome resist Nairo Quin-
tana s attacks while the talented Thomas is
widely regarded as a future Grand Tour win-
"Every Tour is different, so that means
choosing the team we believe is best equipped
to deal with the many different challenges of
this race," Team Sky director Dave Brailsford
"We have selected a talented group of riders
with Chris as the leader once again. I know
they will do everything they can to help him
try to win yellow."
The World Anti-Doping Agency delivered
a rebuke to the International Olympic Com-
mittee yesterday in a statement supporting
track and field s decision to bar Russian
athletes from competing under their own
flag at the Summer Games.
The statement, delivered by WADA pres-
ident Craig Reedie, who is also an IOC mem-
ber, said it supported the original move by
the sport s governing body, the IAAF, that
cleared the way for a limited number of
Russian athletes to compete under an inde-
pendent flag at the Olympics---provided they
could show they ve been subject to doping
control outside their country.
But on Tuesday, the IOC said any Russians
allowed to compete would do so for their
country---a decision that puts the IOC at
odds with the IAAF decision.
Rome mayor maintains opposition to Olympic bid
Jaguar used in Olympic ceremony shot
Zika forces McIlroy
out of Rio Olympics
FILE---In this June 18 file photo, Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland,
watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the rain delayed
second round of the US Open golf championship at Oakmont
Country Club, in Oakmont, Pa. AP PHOTO
Links Archive June 22nd 2016 June 24th 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page