In the past few months, the COVID-19 virus, that originated from the city of Wuhan in China, slowly found its way into every corner of the world, and has taken the lives of over 88,000 people. Among all the countries that are suffering from the pandemic, Italy has been hit the worst, and a grieving news that has come ahead is the death of Italian Olympian Donato Sabia.
The tragic news comes from an official statement forwarded by Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) and also from the Italian athletics federation (FIDAL) who revealed the former Olympic runner’s tragic demise on 7th April.
Donato Sabia, the middle distance runner who participated in 800 metres events, participated at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, and reached the final in both events, finishing fifth and seventh respectively.
According to CONI’s statement, Sabia was kept in intensive care at the San Carlo hospital in his hometown of Potenza. The 56 year old also recently lost his father to the novel Coronavirus on 31st March.
CONI also stated that Sabia is the first Olympic athlete who died from Coronavirus.
“An extraordinarily talented athlete but, above all, a gentle person,” FIDAL lamented in a statement. “It’s a tragedy within a tragedy. Donato was a person who you couldn’t not love,” Alfio Giomi, the president of FIDAL mourned.
Sabia made his international debut ath the 1982 European Athletics Indoor Championships, and earned 17 caps for the Italy national athletics team until 1988.
Along with reaching two Olympic finals, Sabia won a gold medal at 1984 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gothenbur, Sweden, clocking a time of 1:48.05.
His personal best is 1:43.88, which he achieved in Florence on 13th June 1984, and even to this day it is the Italian U23 record for 800m.
Other than 800m events, Sabia also won three national championships in 400m, and clocked 45.73 as his personal best in Milan 1984.
Following his retirement from the track in 1990, Sabia became the president of the FIDAL regional committee in the region of Basilicata in southern Italy.
Till date, 1,39,422 positive Coronavirus cases have been registered in Italy, and 17,669 patients have succumbed to the deadly virus.