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Ireland's Shane Lowry pulls out of Rio Olympics due to Zika virus concerns

It comes just hours after World Number one Jason Day withdrew for the same reason

By Claire Williamson

Ireland's Shane Lowry has announced he will not be competing in the Olympics due to concerns about the Zika virus.

It comes on the same day world number one Jason Day withdrew from the Games with similar concerns.

Last week Holywood golfer Rory McIlroy also withdrew over Zika virus fears.

Fellow Northern Ireland golfer Graeme McDowell turned down the chance to replace current world number four McIlroy as his automatic replacement.

The 36-year-old said he had already made a decision before McIlroy's announcement not to go to Rio de Janeiro as his wife is pregnant and due to give birth around the same time as the Olympic Games in Brazil

Read more:

Rory McIlroy pulls out of Olympics over Zika health fears

Graeme McDowell turns down the chance to replace Rory in Rio because baby is due 

Lowry said: "It is with a very heavy heart that I have had to make the decision over the past couple of days to withdraw from the upcoming Olympic games this August.

"Myself and my management team have been closely monitoring the Zika virus situation in South America for the past number of months, but based on a number of consultations with leading medical experts in recent days, I feel that I would be putting my family's health at risk by being in Brazil at the current time.

"Wendy and I have just recently been married and we hope to be lucky enough to have a family in the near future. Based on these circumstances, I have received firm medical advise that I should not travel to Rio this summer."

He added: "I have not taken this decision lightly and it has been a source of much anguish for me over the past week. I am a very proud Irishman and I love my country."

Earlier on Tuesday world number one, Australian Jason Day said in a statement: "It is with deep regret I announce that I will not be competing in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games this coming August in Rio de Janeiro.

"The reason for my decision is my concerns about the possible transmission of the Zika virus and the potential risks that it may present to my wife's future pregnancies and to future members of our family.

"I have always placed my family in front of everything else in my life.

The 28-year-old added: "Medical experts have confirmed that while perhaps slight, a decision to compete in Rio absolutely comes with health risk to me and to my family."

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