6 Jun 2013

Parents of critically ill athlete head to Tahiti hospital

3:04 pm on 6 June 2013

The parents of New Zealand athlete Lesley Cantwell say they have some decisions to make about her life support.

Cantwell, a 5000 metre walker, collapsed during the Oceania Area Track and Field Championships and is in a critical condition on life support at a hospital in Tahiti.

Ms Cantwell's parents left for heading to Papeete on Wednesday night.

Her father, Shaun Cantwell, told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Thursday that she collapsed on her way to a medal ceremony.

Mr Cantwell said the cause is not yet known and one theory is that it was a brain haemorrhage.

He said he and his wife know they have some decisions to make about their 26-year-old daughter's life support but are waiting to get more information.

Mr Cantwell said it was the family's wish that the other 50 athletes in the New Zealand team continued in the championships until the event ended on Thursday.

The athlete's mother, Jude Cantwell, was the national 1500 metres champion in 1989, while her Mr Cantwell deputy principal at Fiordland College and a leading athletics coach.