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Short track world champion ‘fighting for her life’

Lara van Ruijven

DORDRECHT, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 15: Lara van Ruijven of The Netherlands during the ISU World Cup Short Track at the Sportboulevard on February 15, 2020 in Dordrecht Netherlands (Photo by Soccrates/Getty Images)

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Lara van Ruijven, a world champion short track speed skater from the Netherlands, is “fighting for her life” with an autoimmune disorder in intensive care, a Dutch short track coach said.

Van Ruijven, 27, was hospitalized last week after feeling ill at a training camp in the French Pyrenees. Complications arose over the weekend, including internal bleeding.

The Dutch speed skating federation said Monday that her condition was stable but critical. On Wednesday, the federation said her condition deteriorated: still critical, with no signs of recovery after two surgeries.

“With incredible perseverance she has won the world title on the ice, but this battle is many times tougher,” Dutch coach Jeroen Otter, who has been with van Ruijven in the hospital said, according to a Reuters translation of a press release. “We all sympathize with her and hope with all our heart that she will come out well.”

Van Ruijven is the reigning world champion at 500m. She earned bronze at the PyeongChang Olympics as part of the 3000m relay.