Great Britain

Darlington boxing coach preparing for Olympics - months after almost dying with Covid-19

A BOXING coach is making the final preparations with his athlete for the Olympics – just months after spending weeks in hospital battling Covid-19.

Tony Davis, from Darlington, who is a former England international and is now head coach for Bahrain, almost died after getting the coronavirus in March this year, testing positive just a few days after discovering he had succeeded in getting his athlete qualified for this year’s Olympics in Tokyo.

The father-of-two has previously been honoured as a hero following the Westminster Bridge terror attack after coming to the aid of PC Keith Palmer, who was stabbed and killed in 2017.

He came down with covid in March after travelling to a competition in Turkey with super heavyweight Danis Latypov – the first boxer from Bahrain to ever qualify for the Olympics.

He tested positive following a routine check, only showing symptoms after several days in an isolation hotel. After taking a turn for the worse, he ended up in hospital in Istanbul.

He was there for 11 days but due to growing concern for his health, his family managed to move him to a private hospital where he was admitted to intensive care for six days.

"It was atrocious," he said. "If I hadn’t moved hospital I think I would have died.

"I was so ill and I wasn't getting any better. It came to a point I was starting to lose it. People were disappearing from the ward and they weren't going home. I called my wife to say I had to get out and she contacted the Bahrainis who got in touch with another hospital.

"The doctor called my wife and said if I didn’t move from the hospital I wouldn’t make it.

"I ended up being blue lighted across Istanbul. I can’t remember much but I was able to Facetime my wife and she thought I was calling to say goodbye. I was straight into ICU for six days and then I started to respond to the treatment."

Mr Davis, who celebrated his 47th birthday during his month-long hospital stay, lost 15kg while he was ill and is still struggling with side effects.

Despite the illness, he was keen to return to work as soon as possible ahead of the Olympics.

He added: "I’m just glad I’m here and I'm thankful to the people who looked out for me."

"Covid is no joke. A lot of people still think its just whatever or just like the flu but if you had what I had then God help you.

"It was the scariest time of my life.

"Being such a fit guy and active guy, to be struck down was just horrendous. I’m still not able to carry out my job the way I was. It’s going to take a bit of time.

"I’m still having after effects of being tired and fatigued and I’m probably going to have some long term effects that is probably not good for the future. It’s day to day stuff, the brain fog is on a different level.

"It affects people in different ways. It’s a bit like Russian roulette."

The games, which are due to start on July 23, will be his first after failing to qualify as an athlete.

He said: "It's not going to be like any other Olympics. I know the Japanese public don't want it to happen but there are a lot of things involved. You've got to think of the athletes around the world – this is the pinnacle of their lives. I do think they have to happen. There are a lot of protocols in place. I think the Japanese will have it controlled to an excellent standard.When they walk out in the opening ceremony it will be a proud moment for people around the world."

Latypov, who is making his final preparations for the games, is competing in the super heavyweight division.

Mr Davis added: "It will be tough. You've got the best boxers in the world in that division. But anything can happen. I think I've given the best preparation.

"It would be great fun to medal but its going to be tough. If he goes there and does himself proud that's all I care about.

"Anything can happen - it's boxing."

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