Asthma may hamper Justin Henin to defend her Olympic gold medal in Beijing

Justin Henin may lose her Olympic gold medal in Beijing because of asthma.

Henin withdrew from the China Open in September because of her asthma and is worried she might also be forced to skip the Beijing Games next August.

"I've had asthma for a few months now and I felt very bad in New York at the end of the (U.S. Open), so Beijing, I was really concerned about that," Henin said Monday at the Sony Ericsson Championships. "I was pretty disappointed because I wanted to play the tournament and get used to the conditions."

Henin said she had recovered from that bout after visiting a specialist.

International Olympic Committee inspection team leader Hein Verbruggen called air quality in Beijing "a big problem." The remarks came a week after the United Nations said air pollution was a major concern for athletes' health ahead of the games.

"It's true that Beijing is going to be tough with the Olympic Games with the problem I have but now it seems that everything is under control which is important because the Olympic Games remain a very important goal for me in 2008," Henin said.

The 26-year-old Belgian begins her WTA championships defense on Tuesday against Anna Chakvetadze of Russia.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova