A Venezuelan swimmer has suffered a “hypothermic attack” during the 2019 Pan American Games because she did not have the proper swimwear and her body temperature dropped by seven degrees.
The incident occurred happened during the 10-kilometre race (5.3-mile) race in open waters when Venezuelan swimmer, Paola Perez, did not have a neoprene suit approved by the International Swimming Federation FINA, which left her swimming with just regular swimwear.
FINA, which is the authority figure in the sport, informed her of the unfortunate situation moments before the race at the 2019 Pan American Games being held in the Peruvian capital, Lima. The swimmer took to social media to voice her outrage.
Paola Perez said: “They just denied the use of my NEOPRENE suit for not following the FINA rules, said information was known since last year for the specifications of the suit, which was ignored and now I have to compete with a normal swimsuit”.
She went on to say that this was a “big disadvantage” but what was even worse is that it was “a very unpleasant situation”.
When asked about the ordeal, the swimmer told AFP: “I held on until the sixth lap. I suffered a hypothermic attack. I was already very cold and I could not feel my hands… I started to lose my way swimming in zig-zags”.
The swimmer also said she suffered “headaches and nausea”.
Reports state the swimmer’s body temperature was 30 degrees Celsius when she got out of the water, seven degrees less than what it should have been.
The incident comes as Venezuela has shown very poor funding for their sports teams.
Earlier this year sportswear giants Decathlon claimed that the Venezuelan national football team created their home kit out of T-shirts bought at the shop by stitching on the country’s badge over their own branding.
Venezuela had taken on the Catalan national team in a friendly but the South American side’s kit appeared to have been bought at a Decathlon shop and altered to make it look like their normal kit.
Venezuela has been going through a serious economic crisis for several years. The country has been experiencing hyperinflation making even the most basic goods unavailable to many Venezuelans.
Paola, who won silver in the same competition in Toronto in 2015, eventually completed the swim and finished in 11th position out of 20.
The swimmer moved to Chile to escape the economic hardships of her country. She teaches swimming and still participates in swimming competitions.
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Story By: Juan Mayes , Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport
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