Fear swims with you (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

imago images / Bernd König

Better safe than sorry: Florian Wellbrock doesn’t take any risks

Florian Wellbrock has become thoughtful. “An infection could cost more than my Olympic dream,” said the double world champion after the corona-related cancellation of the German swimming championship (DM) planned for the end of the month in Berlin: “In view of the current uncertainties, I definitely prefer to be careful rather than forbearance.”

The German Swimming Association (DSV) had sold the championships as a comeback of the sport, as a “sign of departure and a return to normality” in difficult times. On Saturday the event was canceled without replacement – the number of infections is rising rapidly, the number of registrations has fallen. The title fights were originally planned for April. “Then it’s better just to have smaller competitions at the federal bases,” commented Wellbrock.

The cancellation throws another bright light on the professional series ISL, which let swimming stars from all over the world fly into the Corona hotspot Budapest for a five-week event. The DSV had expressly warned its athletes not to participate because of “incalculable risks”. Wellbrock wanted to start at the DM, but not in Budapest. The fear of infection with Covid-19 and possible long-term consequences, even among young top athletes, is great. “Nobody knows exactly what influence this will have on future performance,” warned the 23-year-old: “If the lungs only perform one percent less as a result, it will endanger your career.”

This will probably not have any influence on the ISL event in the Duna Arena in Budapest, eight German swimmers go into the water there. The lavish entry fee and the prospect of top-class competitions are too tempting. Former world champion Marco Koch (30), breaststroke swimmer and one of the DSV stars is there and does not see the situation as critical: “That is the reason that we had to do two tests at home and were locked away here for further tests,” he said on Sunday. “I haven’t heard of any incident here inside the bubble.” (Sid / jW)

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