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Africa: virus ruins Olympic dreams and tests dedication

The dreaded test results came back positive for COVID-19 and the illness descended on South African swimmer Erin Gallagher.

The Tokyo Olympics and the dream she’d been chasing for years suddenly seemed out of reach as a result of the span of a few days, she went from elite Olympic athlete in peak condition to lying flat on a bed concentrating on the most basic of physical functions. Just keep breathing, she told herself.

Gallagher's brush with the coronavirus late last year was extreme and yet she is one of the lucky ones, even if it took her months to fully recover. She came through it with her health and Olympic ambitions in tact. The 22year-old is heading to the Games as part of a South African women's medley relay team expected to contend for a medal.

Gallagher said; Those were extremely dark times. I couldn’t really see any possible way where I could get to Tokyo. In the back of my mind there was this voice saying, ‘Erin, you’re not going to make it, I don’t think, so rather quit now and just focus on regaining your health.

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