Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Lydia Ko keeping on eye on Zika virus ahead of Rio

Lydia Ko. Photo / Getty
Lydia Ko. Photo / Getty

Lydia Ko is adopting a cautious approach about playing at the Rio Olympics as the mosquito-borne Zika virus continues to sweep through South America.

Like her on-course management, the world's top golfer is working steadily through developments and avoiding any discussion about withdrawing from the August Games.

She sidestepped any talk about shunning the Games and concentrated her concerns on those people who have been affected by the virus which is strongly linked to the microcephaly birth defect.

Olympic host Brazil has reported 3700 cases of the disease which stops foetus brains from developing properly. So far no vaccine or treatment has been discovered.

"First of all we are more thinking about the people there, the people who are affected by it rather than what is going to happen (with the Olympics)," Ko said in a conference call.

"Obviously I'm just hoping that everybody there is safe. There are some things that we can't control and that it is out of hands.

"We still have eight months until the Olympics, it's something we have got to keep looking at and monitor but for now, I guess that is all we can do."

The IOC has assured teams they will be safe in Brazil but has also urged visitors to wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers and to be vigilant about protecting themselves with repellent.

Pregnant women have been urged to discuss the trip with their doctor.

Women's golf makes its Olympic debut this year while the men's event returns for the first time since 1904 with 60 players competing in each medal event.

- NZ Herald

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