IOC says 'unfortunate' Beijing luge accident is under investigation

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics
Luge – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Men’s Singles Competition – Olympic Sliding Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 11, 2018 - Mateusz Sochowicz of Poland in action. REUTERS/Edgar Su

Nov 9 (Reuters) - A serious training accident on the Beijing Olympic luge track is under investigation and any conclusions will be implemented in time for the Games in February, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Tuesday.

Polish luger Mateusz Sochowicz had successful surgery after fracturing his left kneecap and cutting his right leg to the bone when he hit the barrier at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre on Monday. read more

The Polish Toboggan Sports Association said in a statement that the athlete hit a closed crossing gate that should have been left open.

The 25-year-old luger said the track team were slow to react and he spent half an hour on the ice before being taken to hospital.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, the IOC's head of the coordination commission for the Beijing Olympics, which starts on Feb. 4, expressed support and sympathy for Sochowicz.

"It’s a most unfortunate situation, he told reporters in a webinar.

"The track, and the circumstances under which this accident happened, are being investigated by both the (luge) federation and the organising committee very seriously.

"If there are lessons to be learned, as probably there will, we will implement them and have plenty of time to implement," added the Spaniard.

Samaranch said the track had received "extraordinary marks for its safety and its quality" from the two international federations that used it at recent test events.

"We need to wait now to see how the investigation goes ahead," he said. "But certainly we are close to the athlete, we will make sure that he is in the best conditions and recovers as soon as possible."

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ken Ferris

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