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Ali Zankawi’s misthrow injures judge during men’s hammer final at Asian Games

Ali Zankawi’s misthrow injures judge during men’s hammer final at Asian Games
  • PublishedOctober 1, 2023

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A judge is injured after Kuwaits Ali Zankawi throws the hammer through the net during the Mens Hammer Throw Final at the Asian Games in Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, Hangzhou, China on September 30, 2023. — Reuters
A judge is injured after Kuwait’s Ali Zankawi throws the hammer through the net during the Men’s Hammer Throw Final at the Asian Games in Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, Hangzhou, China on September 30, 2023. — Reuters

A misthrown hammer at the Asian Games in Hangzhou struck an athletics official, causing a shattered leg and severe bleeding. However, the official’s vital signs have stabilised since the incident, according to a spokesperson on Sunday.

Ali Zankawi of Kuwait lined up for one of his throws in the men’s hammer final at the crowded Olympic stadium in the eastern Chinese city just before 8pm (1200 GMT) on Saturday.

The hammer, however, smacked against the thigh of the seated technical official after flying out sideways and low to the right instead of straight onto the outfield.

Horrified at his misthrow, Zankawi sprinted over as blood began spurting from the official’s right leg. The official, Huang Qinhua, 62, grimaced and swayed dizzily as Zankawi rushed to check on him, blood shooting out of the wound.

Zankawi swiftly applied a tourniquet to Huang’s thigh, stopping the bleeding before medical personnel transported Huang on a stretcher to a nearby hospital, ensuring his safety.

“He arrived at the hospital at 20:15, where was diagnosed with a right open tibiofibular fracture,” Games spokesman Xu Deqing told a news conference on Sunday. “Currently his vital signs are stable.”

Afterwards, Zankawi looked shaken and was seen asking after the official, according to a Reuters witness.

The final was won by China’s Wang Qi while Zankawi finished eighth but still managed a season’s best of 67.57m, which he threw in the second round before his misthrow.

As is common in athletics competitions, the official had sat several metres from the cage-like netting that surrounds the throwing circle where the athletes spin and take their throws.

However, the power and velocity of the 7.26-kg (16-pound) flying metal ball meant the netting could only slightly cushion the hammer’s flight, not stop it.

The netting in athletics is designed to hang relatively loosely to prevent hammer balls and discuses from bouncing back at the athletes after misthrows.

Many users of the Chinese social media platform Weibo, where the incident was trending on Sunday, said safety protocols should be improved to offer better protection for officials.

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