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Olympic gold medallist Cameron Van der Burgh battling ‘worst virus’ for 14 days

Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa won gold in the 100m breaststroke at the 2012 London Olympics and silver in Rio four years later before retiring in 2018.

By: Reuters | Published: March 24, 2020 9:44:03 am
Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa at the 2018 FINA World Championships. (Source: Reuters)

Former Olympic swimming champion Cameron van der Burgh has said he has been battling the new coronavirus for the last two weeks and that athletes who continue to train for the Tokyo Games are exposing themselves to “unnecessary risk”.

South African van der Burgh won gold in the 100m breaststroke at the 2012 London Olympics and silver in Rio four years later before retiring in 2018.

He said that while the most severe symptoms from the virus had passed he was still exhausted by any physical activity.

“I have been struggling with COVID-19 for 14 days today,” he said on Twitter.

“By far the worst virus I have ever endured despite being a healthy individual with strong lungs (no smoking/sport), living a healthy lifestyle and being young (least at-risk demographic).

“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. Any physical activity like walking leaves me exhausted for hours.”

“Athletes will continue to train as there is no clarification re summer Games and thus are exposing themselves to unnecessary risk,” he continued.

van der Burgh, 31, said athletes who contract the virus will struggle to get back in peak condition for the Games, which are scheduled to start on July 24, though there have been growing calls for the Olympics to be postponed.

More than 16,000 people have died globally since the coronavirus outbreak began.

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