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Aisha Praught-Leer to race in Tokyo despite serious knee injury

The athlete, who races for Jamaica, tore her meniscus during training this week

Photo by: Aric Van Halen

Aisha Praught-Leer, who trains with Team Bosshard in Boulder, Colo. alongside reigning steeplechase world champion Emma Coburn but who races for Jamaica, announced on Instagram today that she has sustained a meniscus tear to her left knee, which will require surgery as soon as she is finished competing in the 1,500m in Tokyo.

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The athlete says felt the injury when it happened on Sunday while she was training near St. Moritz, Switzerland, in preparation for the Tokyo Games. She completed the workout, and had an MRI on Wednesday, which revealed a complete tear requiring surgery. Praught-Leer says she will still travel to Tokyo to compete in the 1,500m on Sunday, and will have a couple of (entirely legal) procedures, including having fluid drained from her knee and a cortisone injection, to allow her to compete. But she acknowledges that she will not be able to perform as well as she hoped, given her situation.

The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that cushions the knee joint. Tears are relatively common in athletes. 

Praught-Leer, 31, qualified for Tokyo 2020 on the basis of her world ranking (43rd), and this will be her second Olympics; she made the final of the 3,000m steeplechase in Rio in 2016, finishing 14th, and won gold in the event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Praught-Leer signed a sponsorship deal with Puma earlier this year.