Maguire adamant Olympics worth the ‘5pc risk’
Leona Maguire believes representing Ireland at next month’s Olympics is “worth the 5pc risk” posed by the Zika virus.
The 21-year-old is fully committed to competing in Brazil despite the growing list of elite male golfers who have withdrawn from the Games citing health risks.
Shane Lowry and Jason Day joined that list this week, while Rory McIlroy, who will also not travel to Rio, admitted that professional golfers don’t grow up dreaming of winning Olympic gold.
Maguire, 48th in the world amateur rankings, is almost certain make the top 60 that will qualify for Rio by next week’s cut-off and says she would “give her right arm” for a chance to win an Olympic gold medal.
“We’ve been consulting a lot with medical experts and have been in touch with doctors on an on-going basis,” she told RTÉ’s Ray D’Arcy Show. “From everything they are saying, there is a 5pc risk, from a 90pc risk earlier on in the year. To represent your country at the Olympics, I think it’s worth that 5pc risk.”
McIlroy, Lowry and Graeme McDowell clearly think differently and their decisions have left Padraig Harrington and, most likely, Seamus Power, to fly the flag for the Irish men’s team.
“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,” said Maguire, who will have her sister Lisa as her caddie in Rio.
“I’d give my right arm to go to Rio to get the chance at a gold medal ... The athletes that are going are 100pc committed.”
Meanwhile 2008 Olympic gold medallist Rafael Nadal and former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki were among those named in the provisional entry list for Rio by the International Tennis Federation yesterday.