Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
23 Mar 2020
7:02 am

Coronavirus ‘no joke’ Olympic hero and sufferer Van der Burgh warns

Wesley Botton

He said contracting the virus would be a severe blow to any athlete in training after struggling for two weeks with it already.

Cameron van der Burgh. Photo: François-Xavier Marit/AFP.

Former Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh has shared details of his ongoing battle with COVID-19, urging elite athletes to be wary of the spreading coronavirus.

Van der Burgh, who retired from competitive swimming in December 2018, revealed late on Sunday that he had been locked in a “struggle” with the disease for the last two weeks.

“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,” Van der Burgh posted on social media.

The 31-year-old former breaststroke specialist said he had recovered from an “extreme fever” but he had not yet overcome the illness.

“I am still struggling with serious fatigue and a residual cough that I can’t shake,” said Van der Burgh, who won multiple world titles during his elite career.

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

While this year’s Tokyo Olympics remained in doubt, Van der Burgh believed the coronavirus could have a real impact on performances at the showpiece in July.

“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.”

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