ATHENS – Cyprus’ female pole vault champion Marianna Zachariadi died on Monday following a two-year battle with cancer.
The 23-year-old Greek born athlete was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma back in 2011 and her conditioned worsened in the last couple of months. Marianna slipped into a coma at Attiko Hospital in Greece last week and doctors confirmed she had died on Monday morning.
Marianna gave a final interview earlier this month in which she spoke of her diminishing health.
“I had taken every available medicine but nothing appeared to improve my condition. I have been travelling backwards and forwards from Greece to Germany for some time now. After the radiology treatment, we will see where I stand…only one of my lungs is working and my chances are diminishing day by day.”
She added, “I feel very lonely. In the beginning, they think of you a lot, then they think of you sometimes and then they finally disappear.”
Her touching interview had prompted fellow athletes to call on the public to donate whatever they can in a bid to kick-start her therapy.
Footballers Constantinos Charalambides, Demetris Christofi, Andreas Avraam as well as fellow track and field athletes Kyriakos Ioannou, Eleni Artymata and Apostolos Parellis have all featured in an online video supporting Marianna.
Marianna has brought much success to Cyprus in athletics. In October 2010, she took the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi while at the Mediterranean Games in Italy, a year earlier, she was again a silver medalist with one of the highest scores in Europe that year.