Tue | Sep 28, 2021

Injury will not stop gallant Praught-Leer

Published:Saturday | July 24, 2021 | 12:10 AMAndrÈ Lowe/Sports Editor
Aisha Praught-Leer competing in the women’s 1500m finals at the JAAA National Junior and Senior Championships at the National Stadium on Friday, June 25.
Aisha Praught-Leer competing in the women’s 1500m finals at the JAAA National Junior and Senior Championships at the National Stadium on Friday, June 25.

TOKYO, Japan:

Despite suffering a complete tear of the meniscus during a recent training session, essentially crushing her Tokyo 2020 ambitions, Jamaican middle distance athlete Aisha Praught-Leer says she remains grateful that she will still be able to represent the country at the Olympic Games.

Praught-Leer, who acknowledged that she will not be able to compete at anywhere close to her best in Tokyo, says despite the urgent need for surgery, she has decided, after consulting with her surgeon, that she will postpone the procedure until after her competition at the Games.

“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 ever had in my little life,” said Praught-Leer, who shared that she is heartbroken by the injury.

“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,” she added.

Praught-Leer says she will have the fluid drained from the injured knee in Tokyo and receive a cortisone injection to decrease the swelling around the area. She stressed that the course of action was green-lit by her surgeon.

She is scheduled to line up in the first round of the women’s 1500 metres on August 2 at 9:35 a.m. (August 1 at 7:35 p.m.).

The US-born Praught-Leer told her followers on Twitter that she suffered the freak accident during a training session on Sunday.

‘FREAK ACCIDENT’

“I heard and felt a painful pop during a drill, but then proceeded to do one of the best workouts of my life. On Wednesday I got an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), then sat in quiet disbelief as the doctor told us I need surgery ASAP,” Praught-Leer said.

“We did nothing wrong. As I said, this was a freak accident. Now all of my silent work, the beautiful, hard-earned fitness, does not have a chance to see the light of day. The triumph I have visualised so vividly is gone in one step,” she added.

“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.”

Praught-Leer had been training in Switzerland ahead of the Games. She is the reigning Commonwealth Games champion in the 3000m steeplechase and also has a 1500m Pan American Games silver medal to her name from the 2019 event.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com