Hong Kong cyclist knocks official unconscious in track world championships crash
Diao Xiaojun leaves velodrome in wheelchair while commissaire is stretchered away with blood pouring from head
Hong Kong cyclist Diao Xiaojuan was involved in a high-speed crash at the World Track Cycling Championships in the Netherlands on Friday, knocking an official unconscious.
The 33-year-old hit the International Cycling Union official after they had ran on to the track to pick up debris from an earlier crash.
— UCI Track Cycling (@UCI_Track) 2 March 2018
Diao was taken away from the track in a wheelchair while the official was stretchered away bleeding from the head after being treated on the track for 15 minutes. She was replaced by teammate Yang Qianyu in the two remaining races, the individual pursuit and points race but according to local cycling association officials only suffered minor scratches.
The women’s omnium scratch race restarted after 45 minutes.
The official, however, was recuperating in hospital after the unfortunate accident.
“We feel sorry upon hearing this news,” said Hong Kong Cycling Association chairman Leung Hung-tak. “This is something rare (rider colliding with an official) in a track race, especially at a high level competition as both officials and riders are supposed to be experienced. But it happened and we wish the official a speedy recover.”
It was not the first time Diao had crashed in a major competition. At the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, the Hong Kong rider was among the leading bunch in the point races final, before crashing to the ground and ending her hopes of a medal. She suffered shoulder injuries which required emergency surgery, while teammate Wong Wan-yiu suffered broken ribs from the crash, although she endured the pain to capture a silver medal.
The crash capped off a disappointing weekend for the Hong Kong team after track star Sarah Lee Wai-sze missed out on a medal in the women’s sprint.
Lee managed only a fourth place after suffering two losses in a row. After reaching the semi-finals, she was beaten by Stephanie Morton, of Australia, for a place in the final before losing to Germany’s Pauline Grabosch in the bronze medal play-off.
In the men’s points race, Cheung King-lok, came within a whisker of a podium place, finishing fourth in the 160-lap race. The Hong Kong rider, who was leading the pack at one time, was beaten by Mark Steward, of Great Britain, by just one point. Cheung finished the 40-kilometre race with 48 point while Steward had 49.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse