Ukrainian medal hope Natalia Semenova, the self-styled “Iron Lady”, suffered a freak accident while warming up for the women’s discus throw at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday.
The European bronze medallist suffered brain concussion and a broken nose when hit by another athlete during the qualification at the Luzhniki Stadium, according to the Ukrainian team.
“Polish athlete Zaneta Glanc hit the 31-year-old Semenova in the nose while miming a throw at the athletes’ area next to the discus circle,” the team said in a statement.
“She still went on to throw, managing one valid effort of 55.79m which was not enough to qualify for the final.”
The team added doctors put two stitches in her nose and Semenova would have to wait for five days for the swelling to go down before deciding if surgery was necessary.
Semenova was left disappointed with the unfortunate incident, adding that she had gone against her coach’s orders and thrown.
“I’m so sorry this has happened to me today as I was in great shape and getting strong results in practice. I was sure I’d (qualify) to throw in the final,” she said.
“The coach asked me to step down from the competition because of the accident… but I had to throw to show my husband and parents watching the worlds on television in Donetsk that I’m alive, feeling good and I’m the Iron Lady as usual.”
Glanc went on to qualify for Sunday’s final with a best effort of 61.62m.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]