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|September 2, 2000||
Russian walker in road smash
Olympic medal hopes of 20 km walk world champion, Russia's Ilya Markov, are threatened by injuries he sustained in a motor accident.
Markov suffered internal injuries when a trailer on a car in which he was travelling pushed through the rear of the car and the towing bar hit him in the back, his New Zealand host, Slawek Roslon, told Reuters.
Roslon was driving Markov to his New Zealand base in the town of Wanganui on August 23 when their car and trailer were hit from behind.
The accident left Markov unconscious for a short time, his breathing was affected and he lost a lot of blood, said Roslon. The impact just missed the athlete's backbone.
"He was probably just millimetres from a wheelchair," Roslon said.
Markov had resumed training but was walking more slowly and it would be up to 10 days before it was known if he can compete at his best at the Sydney Olympics, Roslon said.
"He's with his coach and doctor and they do some acupuncture and...some massage and he's getting better every day."
"We are full of hope he will be ready but, regarding his chances for the Olympic Games, we have to wait seven to 10 days."
Markov, 28, is in New Zealand for final training before the Olympics, which run from September 15 to October 1. The 20 km walk race is on September 22.
Markov won the 20 km world championship at the Seville World Games in August last year. He also won the European Championships in 1998 and came second at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
He decided to train in New Zealand due to its similar climate and time zone to Sydney and planned to arrive at the Games a few days before his race.
Mail Sports Editor
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