A Scottish Women’s Rugby player being treated for coronavirus spent days training near to Team GB Olympians at their base in Loughborough before she was diagnosed.
The player, who caught the virus in Italy, is now responding ‘well’ to treatment while friends, team-mates and fellow students are in self-isolation waiting to see if they develop any symptoms.
She was part of the Scottish team who had arrived in Italy for their Six Nations game when it was cancelled, and spent time at her uni digs in Loughborough after arriving back from Rome. Her subsequent diagnosis then forced the cancellation of Saturday’s game with France in Glasgow.
Specialist cleaners in protective suits had to deep-clean an area near the Loughborough gym used by Team GB athletes, after a Scottish women’s rugby player returned to university before being diagnosed with coronavirus
A map shows just how close the HIPAC – the high performance athletics centre used by Team GB – is to the areas visited by the infected rugby player on her return to Loughborough
Meg Davey, who is in England’s development squad for rugby, is now in isolation after hugging the rugby player who was then diagnosed with the virus
Many of Team GB’s Olympians across a range of sports use the facilities at Loughborough University, alongside elite-level students.
Athletes linked to the university won 42 medals at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Many are based at HIPAC, home to the British Athletics National Performance Institute and Loughborough Students Athletics club.
The Athletics Centre includes the Seb Coe High Performance Athletics Centre, Paula Radcliffe Athletics Track and Steve Backley National Throws Centre. It is also just a few hundred metres for the English Cricket Board’s Performance Centre.
The athletes, including Rio 2016 hero Adam Peaty and Tokyo 2020 gold medal hopefuls Morgan Lake and Niamh Emerson, also use the Powerbase Gym, which is reserved exclusively by the elite sportsmen and women for part of the day. Boxer Dillian Whyte also trains at Loughborough.
Specialist cleaners in protective suits were this week pictured deep-cleaning an area near the gym.
Rio 2016 gold medallist Adam Peaty is among the star names who train at Loughborough
One friend of the infected rugby player said she had hugged her in the university’s students’ union bar the day before she was diagnosed.
Student Meg Davey, 19, who is part of the development squad for the England Women’s Rugby team, is now in isolation.
After hugging the infected player, Davey said: ‘I just went about my normal routine, went to lectures, went to the gym, went to the student union. It was not until a week after that I found out she had coronavirus’
‘I’ve been in isolation for three days. I think it will be a week before I can join everyone again. I don’t believe she (the infected player) participated in any training.’
The vice-chancellor of Loughborough University, Robert Allison, has twice written to students to reassure them after rumours spread that there were multiple cases of coronavirus on campus.
Morgan Lake, a Tokyo 2020 gold medal hopeful, also trains often at Loughborough Uni
Niamh Emerson is also training at Loughborough as part of her preparations for the Olympics
Allison confirmed the one student, a female, who had tested positive for COVID-19.
‘Rumours have been circulating of multiple positive cases. Let me be absolutely clear: this is not true. I will be honest and say that other cases may be likely within the university, but for now there is one case,’ he said in his letter.
‘I am pleased to say that the student that tested positive is being well cared for. We have been in touch with her on a number of occasions. Most importantly, she is doing well.
‘The individual is not in Loughborough and has not been on the campus since 3 March, the best part of a week ago.’
Team GB athletes have access to a number of high-class facilities at Loughborough, including the Seb Coe High Performance Athletics Centre
Boxer Dillian Whyte also uses Loughborough’s facilities for his training programme
He said that Public Health authorities are satisfied they have identified everyone who the student with COVID-19 had contact with and any individual is self-isolating as a precaution.
‘Cleaning duties on the campus have been changed to prioritise higher risk features such as bannisters, gym equipment, door handles and communal areas,’ he said.
‘This is happening as a general precaution across the university estate and not in response to specific risks or concerns. Whatever rumours you may hear to the contrary, this is a sensible precaution and not a response to further infection.
‘Loughborough students are, in my experience, sensible and mature individuals. This was confirmed on Saturday afternoon when I met a number of you as I walked through the student village and again this morning when I walked across the campus. In return, I shall be honest and open with you all as the current situation develops.’
Team GB have been contacted for comment.