Spanish cager Pau Gasol confirms Rio participation despite Zika fears
Madrid, June 25 (IANS) Spanish basketball star Pau Gasol on Saturday confirmed he would form part of the squad for the Rio Olympic Games despite his well publicised worries about the threat posed by the Zika virus.
Gasol, who led the Spanish to silver medals in the Beijing and London Olympics, had raised doubts over his participation a month ago when he wrote a column in the El Pais newspaper, questioning the safety of the Rio games because of the Zika virus, which is known to cause brain defects in unborn babies, reports Xinhua.
Gasol wrote that he had been surprised by the lack of awareness of the threat of the virus in Europe, adding that it was something that had to be taken seriously by athletes and that he was contemplating not going. He later added that he was considering freezing his sperm as a precaution.
On Saturday, he explained that despite these worries he will be travelling to Brazil.
"I have taken a decision over my availability for the national side in Rio 2016 and I want to go and to be with the team in my fourth Olympic Games. I want to help the national team one more time," he wrote in sports paper Marca.
Gasol said he had no regrets over making his fears over Zika public. "It was my responsibility to warn about Zika, because it is a serious issue, but my responsibility is also to help my team," he commented.
Spain coach Sergio Scariolo will name the squad for the Rio Olympics on Monday.