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Cameron van der Burgh, 2012 Olympic swimming champion, details bout with coronavirus

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Retired South African Olympic swimmer Cameron van der Burgh detailed his struggles with coronavirus from 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 (least at risk demographic),” was tweeted from the retired South African’s account. “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.

“Please, look after yourself everyone! Health comes first – COVID-19 is no joke!”

Van der Burgh, 31, retired in December 2018 after a competitive career that included becoming the first African man to win an individual Olympic swimming event.

He won the 100m breaststroke at the London Games to join fellow breaststroker Penny Heyns, backstroker Joan Harrison and the 2004 men’s 4x100m free relay as South Africa’s Olympic swimming gold medalists. Chad le Clos joined the club later in the Games when he upset Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly.

At the 2012 Olympics, van der Burgh won in a then-world-record time and dedicated it to Norwegian Alexander Dale Oen, the 2011 World champion who died suddenly while training in Arizona that spring.

Van der Burgh added world silver medals in the event in 2013 and 2015 and Olympic silver in Rio behind Brit Adam Peaty, now the world-record holder.

 

Caster Semenya switches track events in Olympic bid

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Caster Semenya, barred from competing in women’s events from 400m through the mile unless she takes testosterone-suppressing measures, is switching to the 200m to pursue Tokyo Olympic qualification, according to her social media.

“My dream has always been, and will continue to be, to compete at the highest level of sport, and so in order to pursue my goals and dreams, I have decided to change events, and compete in the 200m,” was posted on the South African’s channels.

Semenya is a two-time Olympic 800m champion undefeated at the distance since the start of 2016. She and the other two Rio 800m medalists have said they are affected by a new World Athletics rule that would force them to take testosterone-suppressing measures to compete in the 400m, 800m or 1500m.

Semenya’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport was unsuccessful.

The move to the 200m became expected after she raced a 300m last month, and, reportedly, a 200m last week in small meets in South Africa. Her reported 200m time of 23.81 seconds is short of the Olympic qualifying standard of 22.80. No South African has run 22.80 since 2008.

“This has not been easy, but anything is possible,” Semenya told media on Friday. “I call myself supernatural, so I can do anything that I want.”

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

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Chad le Clos seeks Sun Yang’s Olympic gold medal for doping case

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NAPLES, Italy (AP) — Chad le Clos believes he has a claim on Sun Yang’s gold medal from the Rio Olympics, with a verdict imminent on the Chinese swimmer’s latest doping case.

“He should be banned. It’s as simple as that,” Le Clos said in an interview with The Associated Press this week. “Anyone who tests positive should be banned. I should get my gold medal back from Rio.

“Not for the moment. I lost that. I don’t really care about that,” Le Clos added on Wednesday. “It’s just for my record. If I break my leg and I can’t swim again I want my record to say, ‘Two individual golds, two individual silvers.’ Because that’s what it should be.”

Le Clos’ Olympic record currently contains one gold medal and three silvers — including a second-place finish to Sun in the Rio Olympic 200m free

Odds are, though, that Sun won’t lose any Olympic titles when the Court of Arbitration for Sport issues its ruling over his alleged refusal to provide blood and urine in September 2018 in a visit by sample collectors to his home in China. During the late-night confrontation, a security guard used a hammer to smash a container holding Sun’s blood as the swimmer lit the scene with his mobile phone.

The World Anti-Doping Agency appealed after swimming federation FINA merely warned Sun and cited doubts about credentials shown by three sample collection officials.

A three-time Olympic champion, Sun could be banished from the sport for up to eight years but any ban likely won’t be backdated before September 2018 — meaning all of his Olympic medals seem safe.

But there’s also the fact that international swimming authorities worked to protect Sun from being banned, according to a Swiss supreme court document.

FINA has faced criticisms in the past for favoring Sun during his career. It did not announce Sun’s three-month ban for doping imposed by Chinese authorities until after it ended in 2014.

“I just hope the system and whatever we have is really accurate,” said Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszú, who won three golds in Rio. “I just hope the decisions they are making is fair and is for the sport and not for other reasons.”

The medals that Sun risks losing most are the two golds that he won at last year’s world championships in the 200m and 400m frees. At the event in Gwangju, South Korea, fellow medalists Mack Horton of Australia and Duncan Scott of Britain refused to stand with him on the podium.

Sun has denied any wrongdoing. Any ban imposed in the coming days would likely prevent him from competing at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“I have nothing against anybody. It’s not personal,” Le Clos said. “It’s just how the world should be. If you cheat or if you do something wrong, like if you false start, you get disqualified. It’s simple as that.”

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MORE: 2004 Olympic swimming champion banned one year