2019 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS – OPEN WATER
In the men’s 25km race on Friday morning in Gwangju, it appeared at one point as though Hungarian Gergely Gyurta opened up a huge lead on the 17th lap (out of 20), before eventually fading to 10th place: almost 2 minutes behind the leaders.
As it turns out, it wasn’t fatigue that did him in, it was asthma.
Gyurta is a diagnosed asthmatic, and takes medicine daily to treat the condition, but previously has never had an issue during racing or training. After his big surge 4 hours in to Friday’s 5 hour race, he was shocked by an asthma attack, leaving him with trouble breathing over the last 3 kilometers of the race. Exacerbated by the generally-rough water conditions (heavy rain, 2-4 foot waves), this sunk his chances at the World Championship in his only open water race of the day.
Speaking to the press after the race, Gyurta told the media “I wanted to finish it. For some reason, my 2 grandfathers came into my mind…That they somehow walked home from the battlefields in the Second World War. And I told myself, if they could make it, you have to make this as well.”
Gyurta is also entered in the men’s 1500 free, which isn’t until the end of the meet: prelims on July 27th and finals on July 28th.