Bel­gian Par­a­lympian not ready for eu­thana­sia

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports - RIO DE JANEIRO/

Bel­gian Par­a­lympian Marieke Ver­voort has said she is still con­sid­er­ing eu­thana­sia but con­trary to me­dia re­ports, will not be end­ing her life im­me­di­ately af­ter the Games in Rio. The 37-year-old, who won a sil­ver medal in the 400 me­tres wheel­chair race on Satur­day, suf­fers from an in­cur­able and de­gen­er­a­tive spinal con­di­tion and signed eu­thana­sia pa­pers in 2008 in Bel­gium, where it is le­gal.

Bel­gian me­dia re­ported be­fore the Games that she might take her life af­ter Rio, but Ver­voort re­jected the re­ports in an emo­tional me­dia con­fer­ence on Sun­day.

“I have my (eu­thana­sia) pa­pers in my hand, but I’m still en­joy­ing every lit­tle mo­ment,” she said. “When the mo­ment comes when I have more bad days than good days, then I have my eu­thana­sia pa­pers, but the time is not there yet.”

Ver­voort, who was di­ag­nosed with the painful con­di­tion as a teenager and won Par­a­lympic gold in the 100m and sil­ver in the 200m in the Lon­don Games in 2012, con­firmed that the Rio Games would be her last com­pet­i­tive ap­pear­ance.

“When I didn’t have those pa­pers, I would have com­mit­ted sui­cide,” she said. “I hope other coun­tries like Brazil can talk about it. It makes peo­ple live longer. It doesn’t mean that when peo­ple sign the pa­pers, they have to die two weeks later. I signed my pa­pers in 2008. Look now, 2016 and I won the sil­ver medal.”


Bel­gium Marieke Ver­voort wins the sil­ver medal dur­ing Par­a­lympics women’s 400m - T52 fi­nal event.

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