'I feel puffed': Kiwi Olympic medallist struggling with long Covid

Pioneering athletes in minor sports who are performing at high levels are reaping the benefits...
Luuka Jones. Photo: NZ Herald
New Zealand Olympic slalom canoeist medallist Luuka Jones has been struggling with long Covid which has put her career on hold.

The Rio silver medallist posted on social media that she was struck by the Covid-19 virus in March and has struggled with fatigue since.

It has forced her to return home from Europe and recover in the hope to be back to full fitness for the World Championships at the end of next month.

"In 16 years of travelling to Europe to train and compete, I've never had to come home due to injury or illness. This year is a first. After getting Covid in March, I have really struggled to come back to form. I was starting to get better but after the first week of training in Paris, I started to get more and more fatigued. I feel puffed when doing short efforts on the water, and can't handle intensity. I tried to rest up over in Europe, but I wasn't bouncing back," the 33-year-old posted on Instagram.

Jones finished second in the World Cup standings last year in the K1 event but will miss the opening three events in Prague, Krakow and Ljubljana this month.

"It is really disappointing to not be racing the first World Cups like I planned, but I believe I made a good decision to come home to New Zealand and recover," Jones went on.

"I'm slowly building back into training and assessing day by day what I can handle. I'm really hoping to head back to Germany in a month, and build up to the world champs by the end of July. There doesn't seem to be a rule on how to come back from long Covid, or much time it will take, which is hard. I have an amazing team around me, helping me get back to full health, and I am very grateful for the support I am receiving. Here's hoping I'll be back soon."


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