Paralympic triathlete who helped Spain fight Covid wins gold

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Tokyo

During Spain’s tough lockdown last year, Paralympic triathlon champion Susana Rodriguez trained furiously at home and helped fight the coronavirus in her job as a doctor.

Rodriguez — who swam, cycled and sprinted to gold in Saturday’s PTVI race for athletes with visual impairments — said working in a hospital meant she “knew Covid was very serious, since the very beginning”.

In the fraught early days of the pandemic, when she was on the phone lines to assess people with symptoms, her boss would hold a meeting each morning.

“He gave the new data, and things were going really wrong,” the 33-year-old told AFP ahead of her competition at the virus-postponed Tokyo Paralympics.

“I realised that the Games would not be possible before they said they wouldn’t be in 2020.”

She then put her specialisation in physical medicine and rehabilitation to use by helping patients recover from the most severe infections — while fitting in hours on her treadmill and exercise bike between shifts.

“I was also afraid of catching Covid,” said the athlete, who has albinism and is partially sighted, and competes with a guide.

“For a blind person, we rely a lot on touching things, and when (the pandemic) started, everything turned to distancing, and touch was not the best idea.—APP

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