South Africa’s former Olympic-winning swimming sensation, Cameron van der Burgh, has come out speaking about contracting the coronavirus and how it has been a struggle with recovery for him over the last two weeks.
Van der Burgh said the continued increase in the pandemic and the escalation in the postponement of events will greatly affect 2020 Olympic hopefuls. “I have been struggling with Covid-19 for 14 days today (March 22). [It is] by far the worst virus I have ever endured despite being a healthy individual with strong lungs,” the South African wrote on Twitter.
Van der Burgh, a 2012 Olympic 100m breaststroke gold medallist and two-time 50m world champion who retired from the sport in 2018, said the debilitating effects of the illness were still lingering. “Although the most severe symptoms (extreme fever) have eased, I am still struggling with serious fatigue and a residual cough that I can’t shake,” said the still-fit 31-year-old.
He said contracting the virus, following his own experience, would be a severe blow to any athlete in training. “The loss in body conditioning has been immense and I can only feel for the athletes that contract Covid-19, as they will suffer a great loss of current conditioning through the last training cycle. Infection closer to a competition being the worst.”
As the International Olympic Committee faces mounting pressure to delay the 2020 Tokyo Games in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, van der Burgh feared that Olympic hopefuls would put their health at risk by even trying to prepare. “Athletes will continue to train as there is no clarification regarding the summer Games.
Thus, they are exposing themselves to unnecessary risk. And those that do contract will try rush back to training most likely enhancing/ extending the damage/ recovery time. Please, look after yourself, everyone! Health comes first – Covid-19 is no joke!” he ended.