Rio 2016 canoe sprint Olympic silver medalists Steffi Kriegerstein looks set to miss this year’s Tokyo Games after failing to recover from a bout of coronavirus she picked up before Christmas.

The 28-year-old finished second as part of the German women's K4 crew in Rio. She was hoping to take the next step to Tokyo at this weekend’s German canoe sprint team selections in Duisburg in the women's K2 500 alongside Rio K4 teammate, Tina Dietz.

Dietz won silver in the K2 500 in Rio in a boat with Franziska Weber.

But a devastatated Kriegerstein announced on Wednesday that she would not be able to take to the water.

“Since my corona condition in December my body has been torturing itself with new symptoms,” Kriegerstein said in a Facebook post.

“To this day I don't feel 100 per cent healthy. That's why we can't think of a normal exercise routine at the moment. Health is the priority now.

“Big goals that have been the focus of the last four years are now no longer close. The competition season 2021 starts without a national qualification in Duisburg for me.

“This makes the big Olympic 2021 goal far far away for me.”

Kriegerstein is one of the unlucky virus sufferers who has what is known as long-covid. While for most people the infection lasts no longer than two weeks, some – including elite sportspeople – take much longer to shake the debilitating effects.

She has constant headaches, has trouble breathing, and is restricted to very light exercise. Her doctors at the Dresden University Hospital don’t even know when she will be back to full fitness again.

But she is refusing to allow her situation to get her down.

“Sinking into self-pity, however, is not an option,” she posted.

“I receive insanely amazing support from my family, friends, sponsors, physical therapists, my home trainer and many more. In such moments I am very grateful and proud to have such a team by my side.”

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