French hurdler Wilfred Happio won the national title over the weekend despite running with an iPach after attacking 20 minutes before his race.
Happy, 23, was attacked on Saturday as he was warming up for the men’s 400m hurdles final at the national championships in Cannes, northern France, when he was punched several times in the face.
“There was a big event in the warm-up. Someone jumped on him and hit him, “said Happyio’s coach Olivier Welles.
“Someone came out of nowhere and asked him if he was Wilfred Happy and then jumped on him. I managed to hold him back.
“20 minutes before the race we were ready to go to the call area.
“We are shocked. The man was arrested and Wilfred is OK. But I’m speechless, it was pure aggression, it’s blasphemous. These are cruel methods.
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After Happyio crossed the line to book his place in the French team for next month’s World Championships in Oregon in the new individual best time of 48.57 seconds, blood was flowing from his nose.
“I don’t want to say more about (the attack),” he said. “The race was more complicated than usual because I only had one eye.”
The French Athletics Federation said one person had been arrested in connection with the attack and an investigation had been launched.