Silver medal-winning Paralympian Marieke Vervoort who suffers from a degenerative muscle disease has said she wants to be euthanised – but not yet.
Following Vervoort's silver medal win in the 400m on Saturday (10 September) the Belgian press had speculated that the Paralympian might take her own life after the Rio games. She signed euthanasia papers in her native Belgium, where assisted death is legal, in 2008.
However, Vervoort told reporters in Brazil she had no plans to take her own life and was still enjoying it.
"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," the BBC quoted her as saying. Vervoort added she was "still enjoying every little moment".
Her degenerative muscle disease means the 37-year-old wheelchair racer is in constant pain and suffers from seizures, paralysis in her legs. The extent of the pain means Vervoort is often unable to sleep.
Despite her disease, which she has said has made her life a constant battle since the age of 14, Vervoort has climbed to the top of her sport. She won the 200m gold and 200m silver in the 2012 London Olympics before he recent second placing in Rio.
"It's a feeling of 'Yes, I won a silver medal',"she told the BBC , "But there is also another side to the medal, the side of suffering and of saying goodbye to the sport. Because I love the sport, sport is my life."
Vervoort, who has been vocal in her support for euthanasia, has said the prospect of being able to choose the time of her own death has been a source of comfort to her. "It gives a feeling of rest to people ... I know when it's enough for me, I have those papers," she said.