Belfast Telegraph

Medal hero Michael McKillop's race hopes dented by bike injury

Paralympic double gold medallist Michael McKillop has dented his hopes of running in the able-bodied European Cross Country Championships.

The star runner from Glengormley outside Belfast has been hit by an injury suffered in a freak fall.

McKillop (22) fractured a bone in his right wrist when he fell off a bike while on holiday in Rome.

The runner, who has a mild form of cerebral palsy, won the and 800 and 1,500 metres events at the London Games.

His father and coach, Paddy McKillop, said the accident happened during a sightseeing tour in the Italian capital.

“It was just a freak accident, and he has a few bruises as well as the fracture,” he said.

“Our plans are in disarray.

“Michael had been aiming to make the Irish Under-23 able-bodied cross- country team for the European Championships in Budapest in December, but that is now unlikely.”

The middle distance specialist fractured the scafoid bone in his right wrist and is being treated in a Belfast hospital.

He was booked in for surgery on his arm yesterday but there was no news last night as to how the operation had gone or how long he would need to recover fully.

The London Paralympics were the most watched in the event’s history.

As well as his two gold medals at the event, McKillop was also awarded the prize for the athlete who most summed up the spirit of the Games, making him a household name around the world.

Along with fellow runner Jason Smyth, who is also one of his best friends and was his room-mate and confidante in the Paralympic village, the athlete helped to raise the profile of the Irish Paralympic team to new levels.

Smyth also took two golds in London, becoming the fastest disabled athlete in history.

The Londonderry man is also hopeful of competing in able-bodied events at the top level.

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