Lisa Top of the Netherlands competes on the vault during the gymnastics team event. (Reuters)
The incident that saw three Austrian synchronised swimmers injured, one seriously, after being hit by a bus on the eve of the opening of the inaugural European Games in Baku has led to new safety measures being implemented, Chief Operating Officer Simon Clegg said yesterday.
Two of the three teenagers were flown home to Vienna last Thursday with 15-year-old Vanessa Sahinovic being placed in an artificial coma with hip, thigh and spinal injuries and undergoing surgery that night. Teammate Luna Pajer was also repatriated from Baku with a broken bone, but the third victim Verena Breit, who sustained bruising on her right leg in the incident, returned to the Athletes Village soon after the accident.
The incident is presently under investigation by the police—the images captured on camera show the bus travelling at speed and taking a corner with the girls and their companions in clear sight and then hitting them with one being dragged for 20 metres under the vehicle.
“In addition all of the drivers, not just the bus drivers, but also those driving the TX system (a special taxi service for certain people at the Games) have been instructed to follow clear instructions given regarding transportation to and from the venues,” added the 55-year-old Englishman.
Benson wins Britain’s first gold, secures Rio berth
Meanwhile, Benson overcame sweltering heat to win Great Britain’s first European Games gold medal and secured a third qualification berth for the 2016 Rio Olympics after victory in the men’s triathlon yesterday.
Temperatures crossed 30 degrees Celsius but, after a tight swim and cycle, Benson eased ahead during the run and had time to canter across the finish at Baku’s Bilgah Beach holding a Union Jack flag in a time of one hour, 48 minutes, 31 seconds.
Portugal’s Joao Silva finished strongly and looked to be gaining on Benson but eventually finished 11 seconds adrift to win silver while home favourite Rostyslav Pevtsov claimed bronze.
Brothers Alistair, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist and 2009 and 2011 World Champion, and Jonathan Brownlee, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and world Champion, will also compete in the triathlon at the Rio Olympics.
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