Relay gold medal winner Cate Campbell has been struck down with a gastro illness which has forced her out of Wednesday’s 100m freestyle heats.
Campbell, who was ranked to qualify for the final of the blue riband event, has been quarantined from her the rest of the team for the past two days, and Australian head coach Leigh Nugent said on Wednesday morning no other member of the team had been affected.
He said he and the team’s medical staff were hopeful Campbell can be ready to swim the heats of the 50m freestyle on Friday morning along with her sister Bronte.
“We’re withdrawing Cate from the 100m free today, and the plan is for her to recover and get her up for the 50m,” Nugent said. “We have to do everything we can to give her the opportunity to get through the various stages (heat, semi and final) of the 50m.
“She’s back at the village now, resting and has been with the doctors now for the last couple of days. We’ll see how she recovers from day to day and how she improves.
“She became sick overnight on Monday and was vomiting a bit, had diarrhoea and bad stomach cramps. She was isolated and the doctors have done all they can, including putting her on a drip to replace some fluid. Now she’s just resting up and trying to get ready.”
Nugent said the decision was made last night to withdraw from the 100m heats when it was clear Campbell, a Beijing bronze medallist as a 16-year-old, was “pretty debilitated.”
“It’s a pity she couldn’t prove herself individually in that event, but in the end you have to cut your losses and try and regain something out of these situations. We know she is a great racer and she was positioned pretty well for this 50m and I believe she hadn’t got to her peak coming to this event and the way she had been swimming we felt she would get there. Right now we have to preserve her and hopefully we can bring her out and she can do her thing.
“The doctors believe she can recover in time for the 50m. They can’t perform miracles, but they are doing everything they can.”
Australia’s deputy chef de mission Kitty Chiller said Campbell was isolated from the team in the athletes’ village immediately after problems arose.
“She’s been ill for around just over a day. She improved slightly yesterday, went downhill a bit last night. She did visit the Polyclinic yesterday because the swimming team doctors were at the pool.
“It’s a gastro. She has been moved into a room on her own, and with her own bathroom as well and she will continue to be monitored today, but unfortunately she has had to pull out of the 100 freestyle so Mel Schlanger will be our only swimmer in those heats this morning,” Chiller said.
“We’re just hoping that Cate can come good, and everything’s looking like she will be back to full strength for the 50 freestyle in a couple of days. She’s just rehydrating, resting up and getting her strength back.
“She’s having no contact at all with any other team members or officials, just with our medical staff.”
— with Samantha Lane
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