Worried Gasol wants more Zika details ahead of Rio

Mon May 30, 2016 10:12am EDT
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MADRID, (Reuters) - Chicago Bulls and Spain basketball center Pau Gasol wants clarity on the Zika outbreak in Brazil before deciding whether to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August.

Gasol, who has represented his country at the last three Games, says there is not enough information about the outbreak of the virus that is linked to serious birth defects.

"I feel a responsibility to raise awareness and inform about something that we are not talking enough about and which is a big unknown," the 35-year-old told a news conference on Monday.

"The Olympics can be an opportunity for this virus to spread. I want the health of sportsmen, fans and their families that will travel to Rio to come first.

"It wouldn't surprise me if certain athletes decided not to take part in order not to put at risk their health and that of their families."

Asked if he was among them, Gasol said: "I am evaluating it like any other athlete or person that is considering going to Rio.

"Some of my team mates are looking to start a family in the near future and they cannot risk the health of their future children or wives."

The World Health Organization (WHO) rejected a call on Saturday to move or postpone the Olympics over the outbreak after more than 100 leading scientists said new findings about Zika made it unethical for the Games to go ahead.

"It's a very serious situation and there is a lack of knowledge even among the experts," Gasol said.   Continued...

Mar 1, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol (16) is pressured by Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow (20) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports