Commonwealth Games: England cyclist Matt Walls and spectators injured in horrifying crash

Matt Walls
Matt Walls went over the barriers and into the crowd as he tried to avoid a crash
Hosts: Birmingham Dates: 28 July to 8 August
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England cyclist Matt Walls has been released from hospital after he was involved in a crash in which both he and his bike flew into the crowd.

The 24-year-old Olympic champion has “stitches in his forehead, scrapes and bruises” but no major injuries, said Team England.

He was treated in the stands at Lee Valley VeloPark for 40 minutes.

The Isle of Man’s Matt Bostock and Canada’s Derek Gee were also taken to hospital for tests.

Spectators were also injured, with one taken away in a wheelchair.

The rest of the session was abandoned and spectators were asked to leave while Walls was having treatment.

A Team England statement said: “Following medical treatment in hospital, Matt Walls has been discharged with stitches in his forehead, scrapes and bruises but thankfully no major injuries.”

Walls later tweetedexternal-link to thank people for their messages of support, adding: “I’ve somehow come away with no serious injures, just a few stitches and pretty banged up.

“I really hope everyone else involved is OK, including the spectators that may have been injured.”

The crash happened in the final lap of the men’s scratch race qualifying as eight riders collided on the track.

Walls had been trying to avoid riders who had fallen in an incident that began on the entrance to the corner. The stricken pair of New Zealander George Jackson and Australia’s Josh Duffy were sliding up the banking, forcing Walls up on to the barrier and then over it into the crowd.

Footage from the race showed Walls colliding with several spectators.

Gee also surfed the top of the barrier but managed to avoid following Walls into the stands.

A Birmingham 2022 spokesperson said: “Three cyclists and two spectators have been treated by the on-site medical team.

“The three cyclists have been taken to hospital. The two spectators did not require hospital treatment.”

Walls won omnium gold and madison silver for Team GB at last summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Canadian Mathias Guillemette was disqualified from the race for causing the initial crash.

Walls’ crash came just a day after England team-mate Joe Truman was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken collarbone in a collision in the keirin.

On Sunday, England’s Laura Kenny said both Walls’ and Truman’s crashes had had an effect on her.

“I messaged Jason [Kenny – her husband] and said, ‘I’m not sure I want to do this’,” she said. “It puts everything into perspective when something like that happens.

“We all know it’s a dangerous sport so when you’re not feeling physically fit to put yourself at the front of it you can’t help but think, ‘why am I doing this?’.”

She added: “I think the crashes are getting worse and it’s because the speeds are getting higher, the positions [on the bike] are getting more extreme.

“At some point [cycling governing body] the UCI are going to have to put a cap on these positions. Maybe there should be screens because Matt should not have been able to go over the top and into the crowd, that’s pretty damn dangerous.

“It’s the third time now I’ve been in a velodrome and witnessed someone go over the top.

“[Matt] was laughing and making jokes with the paramedics, which is brilliant to hear but if he’d [not gone over] he would have done less damage.”

‘It was horrendous to see’ – analysis

Sir Chris Hoy, former Olympic, Commonwealth and world champion, speaking to BBC Sport

This was a direct result of not having some form of barrier at the top of the fencing. It might seem strange that there is nothing to stop riders going over the fence. It’s very rare for it to happen but it has over the years – maybe half a dozen times over 20 years.

Personally I think it’s preventable if you put a plexiglass screen around like they do in ice hockey. Look at motorsport and its catch fencing and the lengths they go to protect the crowd and also the athletes.

I didn’t want to see the video, I have seen a shot of it, and it was horrendous to see but on the whole it’s a very safe sport.

All you can do is learn from mistakes and think: How can we make the velodrome safer for athletes and spectators?

I hope the people in power look at this and think something really has to be done before something genuinely serious happens in the future.


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