Determined Praught-Leer harbours Olympic hopes despite injurySunday, July 25, 2021
JAMAICA'S Commonwealth Games steeplechase champion Aisha Praught-Leer plans to compete at her second Olympics Games in Tokyo, Japan, despite suffering a serious leg injury while training earlier this week.
In a social media post Praught-Leer, who ran the 3,000m steeplechase in Rio five years ago, making it to the semi-finals, said she tore the meniscus in her left knee, “a complete, off-the-bone root tear”, which she described as a “freak, shocking accident” for which she was advised to seek “surgery ASAP”.
Despite this, the American-born athlete, set to run the 1500m at the Olympics, says she plans to line up in the event which is to start in a week's time.
Praught-Leer, who won the 1500m at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) National Senior Championships and was third in the 800m, said she was in shock when she got the news of her devastating injury days after it happened.
“I heard and felt a painful pop doing a drill,” she wrote.
“But then proceeded to do one of the best workouts of my life. On Wednesday I got an MRI then sat in quiet disbelief...as the doctor told us I need surgery ASAP.”
She said she has a plan which will allow her to compete.
“I'll get the fluid drained from my knee and get a cortisone injection (this is legal, and my surgeon understands and supports me in this). I want to keep believing in the possibility of achieving the wild dreams I store deep in my heart. The reality is they will not happen in Tokyo – running to my ability is simply not possible on a knee without stability. This is the most challenging reality I have faced in my career.”
Saying she was “heartbroken” over the injury, Praught-Leer, who was a finalist at the World Championships in 2017 in London, said she was well aware of the situation.
“I understand this is sport – just sport. I know the truth, that I am more than an athlete, but this sport means everything to me. This is my life's work, my purpose and my first true love. I am heartbroken.
“You will see me smiling in Tokyo with Jamaica on my chest because the honour of representing my country is one of the greatest I've had in my little life,” she also said.
—Paul A Reid
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