CHICAGO (CBS) — Last summer Paralympic swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger was training twice a day, six days a week with her sights set on the Paralympic Games.
After winning a silver medal at the World Championships last year, the Glen Ellyn teen was feeling great heading into the June Paralympic trials before moving on to Tokyo.
Now, that dream is on hold.
“Everybody is just kind of in shock,” said Lettenberger. “We all understand this is what has to happen, but it is a little bit of a bummer that you plan for this for so long. We’ve been training four years for this, and for me this has been my dream since I started competing.”
While Ahalya can no longer go to the pool as part of her daily routine, she has been using her hand-cycle at home to continue strength training and knows that even if the competition would have continued this summer, the athletes wouldn’t have been at the top of their game.
“It’s not just me not training,” added Lettenberger. “It’s everybody not training, and that aspect, you want it to be an equal field. You also want everybody to be able to perform their best at the games. So, if they held it in July like it was supposed to be, it would be impossible to have the performances that you would like to have just because of this barrier in our training.”
Like many of the athletes, Lettenberger had not officially qualified for the Paralympics, but she is ranked eighth on the U.S. squad and was a good bet to make the team.