Olympic gold-winning epee star Katrina Lehis is recovering from knee surgery and will not compete for the rest of this season, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported Monday.
Lehis, who won both team gold and individual bronze at the Toyko Olympics last year, told AK That: "Tests showed that I had to undergo an operation. We had the operation and now more than a month has passed, I am moving and exercising and getting myself back in shape. I thank Dr. Rahu, who did everything very well, very quickly and came up with a lot of advice. The muscles are slowly coming back."
The injury itself took place in July, and after additional examinations, it became apparent that surgery was needed, which was conducted by Dr. Madis Rahu.
Since then, Lehis, ranked 10th in the world, has been carrying rehabilitation exercises at a gym for a little over a month, but she still has a long way to go before returning to the competitive circuit.
The first world championship event of the season takes place in November, at home, in Tallinn, but Lehis will not be competing.
Lehis' coach Nikolai Novosjolov said he hoped she would be back by next April, when the qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics starts.
She would be sorely missed in the meantime, Novosjolov added.
He told AK that: "It is safe to say that Katrina will definitely not participate in Tallinn and will most likely not do so in the next world championship stage either. This will lead a decent loss of points. In our first competition, we will most likely start from the subgroups."
Lehis added that t the incident, at a national team training camp, taught her to listen to her body more.
She said: "Under high loads you have to feel and to understand what the body is doing. I think that was one of the main things I learned from the incident: To listen to your body, more than what is around you, ie. what is expected and what is wanted. That is now the main takeaway from that."
Coach Novosjolov added that Lehis would start training again when she is fully ready and in constant consultation with Dr. Rahu.
As for her rehabilitation work, much of this focuses on the upper body which, while not ideal, mean that some muscle groups which had previously been skirted over can now be focused on more.
At the same time, Lehis said, the goal would also be to bring the injured leg back up to strength in due course.
Lehis was one of the women's epee foursome, along with Erika Kirpu, Julia Beljajeva and Irina Embrich, who defeated South Korea in the Tokyo final, to take gold. Lehis had already won bronze in her own right in the individual event.
Editor: Andrew Whyte