Tessa Wallace
Tessa Wallace

Virus halts Olympic campaign

SUNSHINE Coast swimmer Tessa Wallace still has her eye on Olympic selection despite being diagnosed with Ross River virus.

The Commonwealth Games silver medallist said she was staying positive despite the latest in a string of setbacks.

She was identified as having the mosquito-borne disease by Queensland Academy of Sport doctor Peter Welsh after struggling with illness since May’s Australian age championships.

What she originally thought was a recurring bout of the flu turned out to be Ross River virus which has the potential stay in the body for two years.

The Buderim-based 17-year-old said she hoped to be back in the pool in two weeks and fully fit for March’s Olympic selection trials.

“At the moment I’m just resting, having two weeks off, then I’m going to get back into it, possibly this week just to keep my body moving,” she said.

“I’ll probably do some really light exercise so my muscles don’t get too relaxed and break down. I’ll try to keep fit and strong.

“My doctor advised me to keep moving so when my body starts building back up I’ll start getting back into proper training.

“Hopefully I’ll be back to my best for the state titles in December. That will hopefully be my first competition and give me an idea of where I’m at before the Olympic trials next year.”

Wallace carried a knee injury into this year’s Australian championships where she finished fourth in the 200m breaststroke and third in the 200m individual medley, missing world championship selection.

She returned to the pool for the Australian age championships only to be struck down again.

There is no known cure for Ross River virus and she has been told by her doctor the best course of action was to rest and relax.

Wallace said she still hoped to gain selection for the London Olympics and was thankful the source of her illness had been identified.

“I’m definitely trying to stay positive,” she said.

“The doctor said it’s also a mental thing. You’ve got to look ahead and stay positive, that’s when you’re strongest and when you can fight it.”

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