(Reuters) – Malaysian golfer Danny Chia is unfazed by the high-profile pullouts from next month’s Rio Games over the Zika virus and believes he will still have to battle a world class field to return with an Olympic medal.
Golf’s return to Olympics for the first time since 1904 has been hit by withdrawals by big names, including the world’s top four players Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.
“It’s a shame that golf will return to the Olympics after 112 years without the world’s top four stars and several other top players,” Chia told the Malaysian media.
“There are still many world-class players in the 60-man field. They all want to win a medal badly for their country, including me. So, I think the golf competition is going to be a big success in Rio. I’m very proud to be part of it.”
Mosquito-born Zika virus can cause crippling birth defects in infants and has been linked to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre in adults.
The Rio Games will be held from Aug. 5-21.
(Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)