Cyclist Awang finishes race with splinter through leg
The Malaysian was skewered by a piece of wood after Keirin crash, but got back on his bike
Malaysian cyclist Aziz Awang stole the limelight from Chris Hoy in spectacular fashion at the Manchester Velodrome over the weekend as he won the Track Cycling World Cup - with a 10-inch wooden splinter sticking all the way through his leg.
The 23-year-old picked up the sickening wound on the final bend of the men's Keirin final. Hoy was leading the race and was clear of the carnage that unfolded behind him as four of the six other competitors wiped out in a huge crash.
When Awang hit the floor at full pelt he slid along the wooden track and his leg was skewered by a shard of pine torn up from the floor. The shard pierced the back of his calf and ripped through his leg, emerging through the front of his shin.
Despite his injury Awang remounted his bike in the chaotic aftermath of the crash and limped over the line in third place before collapsing in agony. His screams could be heard around the velodrome before he was then put on a stretcher and rushed to Manchester Royal Infirmiry.
Another of the injured cyclists, New Zealander Richard Dawkins, who hit the track face first, got up and wheeled his bike over the line before he too collapsed. When approached by a medic he declined any medical treatment, apparently telling the first aider: "I'm from New Zealand. We don't feel pain."
Awang was unable to collect his medal after the event as he was being sedated in hospital. Surgeons spent Saturday night assessing the injury and finally operated on his leg to remove the shard of wood on Sunday morning.
After waking from the surgery he posted a message on his Twitter account that read: "Operation done. Splinter taken out cleanly. Alhamdulillah... thanks for the prayer n support."
The coach of the Malaysian team, John Beasley confirmed that Awang would miss the rest of the season, but would focus on returning in time for the Olympics in 2012.
"He was in a lot of pain but he’s a really tough kid, all these Keirin riders are," he said. "The good news is that there doesn't appear to be much nerve damage which is your first worry."
Beasley then explained that neither he nor Awang realised how badly he was injured at first. "That is by far the worst I have seen although initially I wasn't aware of it," he said. "When he crashed I went over to Aziz and checked his head, that's what you always do. Then I said 'Are you ok?' he replied 'yes, put me back on my bike'. It was only after he crossed the line and leaning up against the barrier that he looked down and noticed the splinter. And it was about then that pain kicked in." ·
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