French sprinter Wilfried Happio was attacked by a stranger while warming up at the Caen Athletics Championships. Despite injuries to his eyes and nose, he started and won in a personal best.
This article first appeared on RTL.de
About 20 minutes before Happio climbed onto the starting block, a stranger suddenly attacked him. Lucky in disguise: his coach Olivier Vallaeys was at his side. He witnessed the beating attack, intervened immediately and was able to overpower the perpetrator.
“A guy came out of nowhere and asked him if he was Wilfried Happio and suddenly attacked him. I then tried to hold him down,” Vallaeys later described the scene to the AFP news agency. “We are in shock. The guy was arrested. Wilfried is fine. But I have no words, it was pure aggression. It’s a scandal. These are savage methods.”
Happio: With just one eye on the title “a good feeling”
Happio’s further competition day was also wild. His injured left eye was provisionally treated with a plaster. So that this protection did not fall off during his run, he then wore his headband crookedly over his face as an “eye patch”.
Would you like to jump over the hurdles with just one eye? An even greater challenge for the sprinter.
Nevertheless, Happio started – and all the adrenaline released strength: He became French champion, won in a personal best time of 48.57 seconds – the fifth best time that a compatriot has ever run over this distance. And at the same time, the 23-year-old also booked a ticket for the World Championships in Athletics in mid-July in the USA.
With all the joy for the winner, the French federation announced that the attacker has now been identified. Insignificant for Happio at the moment of success: “I don’t feel like going into the incident,” he said afterwards with tears in his uninjured eye. “It’s being examined now. But the race was much more complicated with just one eye. But the feeling was good.”