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Belgian Paralympian Vervoort says not ready for euthanasia yet

Belgian?media reported before the Games that she might take her life after Rio, but Vervoort rejected the reports in an emotional media conference on Sunday. In photo: Marieke Vervoort of Belgium on October 23, 2015. Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Sep 12, 2016, 11.57 AM (IST)

Belgian Paralympian Marieke Vervoort has said she will not be choosing euthanasia yet.

Belgian local media reported last week that Vervoort was considering euthanasia after Rio Games, but the Paralympian has denied the reports.

The 37-year-old, who suffers from a degenerative spinal condition, signed euthanasia papers in 2008 in Belgium.

Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2002. Signing the papers does not mean that a patient has to end their life immediately.

"I have my (euthanasia) papers in my hand, but I'm still enjoying every little moment," Vervoort told reporters. She won a silver medal in the 400 metres wheelchair race on Saturday in Rio. She  said the time for euthanasia will come when she has "more bad days than good days but the time is not there yet".

Vervoort was diagnosed with the degenerative condition when she was a teenager.

She won a Paralympic gold in 100m and silver in 200m sprints in 2012 London Games.

The athlete has said that Rio Games is her last competition.

She hopes other countries will consider euthanasia. "It makes people live longer. It doesn't mean that when people sign the papers, they have to die two weeks later. I signed my papers in 2008. Look now, 2016 and I won the silver medal. Now my fear of death is gone. Assisted death is something like they operate on you, you go to sleep and never wake. It feels like it will be peaceful. I don't want to suffer when I die."

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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