MIDDLE-distance runner K. Prabudass (pic) came to Hanoi to chase down gold medals in the 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m events. He has spent much of his time in a hospital in the Vietnamese capital instead.
The 31-year-old Armed Forces lance corporal has been down with nausea believed to be because of food poisoning.
He revealed that the day before the 1,500m race, he started vomiting, felt weak and collapsed three times before being taken to the hospital.
“I knew I could not compete in the 1,500m but was hopeful of taking part in the 5,000m, but doctors just told me to rest in the hospital. I will be honest, when I saw the 1,500m race, I was telling myself, that gold was mine,” said Prabudass.
“Before the 5,000m, the doctors still told me not to compete. I wanted to defy them but they said my health should come first so I agreed but hoped to run the 10,000m.
“Again, the doctors advised me not to compete. It is a terrible feeling that I could not take part in any of the races.
“As an athlete, you toil day and night to compete at this stage. Even when I was down, I just felt I could run and do something.
“Now, I just want to go home and be with my loved ones.
“I just hope I can make amends in Cambodia (next year).”
Prabudass was grateful that many had showed concern for his well-being.
“The athletics team, National Sports Council and the doctors all knew I was eager to run but for them, my health and safety came first. I can’t thank them enough.”
Prabudass had been targeted for medals in the 1,500m and 5,000m.
In the 2019 Philippines SEA Games, he finished seventh with a time of 14:56.75 in the 5,000m, but his best finish in the Games was in 2017 Kuala Lumpur when he won silver in the 5,000m, with a time of 14:57.43.