MANILA, Philippines – Golfer Miguel Tabuena will push through with his participation in the 2016 Rio Olympics next month despite the pullout of the other Philippine bet, Angelo Que, said the junior golfer's father, Luigi.
Que had pulled out due to concerns regarding the Zika virus. In a statement, he said: "I have put a lot of thought on this and I have come to the conclusion that I am making the right decision. The health of my family will always come first. With that said, I cannot put myself at risk."
In a phone interview with Rappler from Bacolod, Miguel's father, Luigi, a professional golfer himself, confirmed his son's participation.
"Miguel is going," said the elder Tabuena. "He feels sad that Angelo won't be there but he totally respects [Angelo's] decision."
Miguel Tabuena is ranked 37th by the International Golf Federation (IGF) for Olympic participation.
On the same day that Que announced his withdrawal, American Jordan Spieth, ranked No. 3 in the world, also said he would skip the Olympics due to the Zika virus.
The other top golfers in the world – No. 1 Jason Day, No. 2 Dustin Johnson, and No. 4 Rory McIlroy – will not be present for the Summer Olympiad as well.
All in all, 19 golfers have opted out, dampening the mood.
"Unlike in other sports such as track and field, boxing, or gymnastics, one of the big goals is to compete in the Olympics," said Luigi Tabuena. "In golf, it is different. I am not saying that the golfers aren't patriotic but it wasn't high on their radar. Even so, we have to respect people's decisions."
IGF president Peter Dawson had also expressed disappointment after Spieth backed out of the Olympics.
"It's certainly disappointing that we've had so many withdrawals on the men's side yet it's wonderful that all of the women have been supportive," he said.
"I think I should say now that I don't think it's appropriate for us to discuss individual cases especially as they are generally decisions taken on health grounds. Speaking collectively though, there is no doubt that the number of withdrawals hasn't shed golf in the best light and we have to accept that." – Rappler.com