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1 Dec, 2021 11:59

Gold medalist athlete, 24, dies 2 weeks after contracting Covid

Gold medalist athlete, 24, dies 2 weeks after contracting Covid

A 24-year-old canoeist who won medals on the world stage and was honored in Ukraine has died just two weeks after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

The Canoe Federation of Ukraine announced the death of ten-time world and European medalist Bizu Borislav shortly after he tested positive for the coronavirus.

The stricken star had systemic lupus erythematosus – a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease – and developed sepsis in hospital, an extreme response from his body to his Covid infection.

His mother's details were made publicly available to mourners keen to financially support Bizu's family.

Borislav was introduced to the sport in 2008, winning medals at the Ukrainian Youth Championship in Kovel in 2010 and taking bronze at the European Junior Championship in 2014.

Known as 'Bory', he was coached by revered Russian Edem Muradasilov, who won three sprint medals at the World Championships in 1981 and 1982.

Muradasilov guided Borislav to three bronze, one silver and six bronze honors at world and European level.

That represented a better youth record than legendary canoeist Yuriy Cheban, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion who was also Ukrainian.

Borislav became a three-time champion at the European Junior Championship in 2015 – the same year he was made a Master of Sports of Ukraine.

He made a successful senior debut when he went to the World Cup in Portugal in 2016.

His hopes of competing at the Olympic Games were halted when he was diagnozed with lupus, a disease which is rare in men and characterized by the immune system attacking its own tissues and organs.

Since then, he has occasionally appeared at championships in Ukraine and worked as a coach.

"We would like to express sincere condolences to his family and friends," announced Canoe Europe following Borislav's death in Odessa. "Rest in peace."