Gasol could miss Olympics due to Zika virus


Pau Gasol is considering skipping the Rio Olympic Games because of concerns about the Zika virus.

The Chicago Bulls and Spain forward is thinking about staying home due to unanswered questions over the mosquito-borne disease, which evidence has shown can lead to birth defects in new-born babies.

Gasol said: "It wouldn't surprise me to see some athletes deciding not to participate in the Games to avoid putting their health and the health of their families at risk,

"I'm thinking about [whether or not to go]. Just like every athlete, or any other person considering going to Rio, should be thinking about it."

He added: "Are we taking the precautions that will guarantee the health and safety of fans, athletes and other professionals who will travel to Rio, or are we putting financial concerns above the health of millions of people around the world?

"These Olympic Games, the first to be held in South America, could be unforgettable; the risk is that this could be for all the wrong reasons

"Now is the time to raise awareness and to have an open debate based solely on the facts and with the goal of protecting lives and the health of our population: fear can only be defeated through knowledge.

"We have to take decisions and measures so that the Olympic dream doesn't become a medical nightmare."

A group of 150 medical experts last week wrote a letter to the World Health Organisation, suggesting the Games should be postponed or relocated.