Athlete Uses Hands as Tourniquet After Hammer Hits Official

Mishap at China's Asian Games left 62-year-old Huang Qinhua with a broken leg
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2023 8:11 AM CDT
Athlete Uses Hands as Tourniquet After Hammer Hits Official
Kuwait's Ali Zankawi competes during the men's hammer throw final at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The Asian Games, a multisport event held every four years, runs through Sunday, but one official might be knocked out of this year's competition for good after one matchup in the Chinese city of Hangzhou turned horrifying. Reuters reports that 62-year-old Huang Qinhua was sitting on a chair Saturday outside the netting of the hammer throw, an event involving a 16-pound metal ball attached to a grip with a wire, when the hammer thrown by Kuwait's Ali Zankawi "flew out sideways and low to the right," smashing into Huang's leg.

Huang could be seen "grimacing and swaying, with blood shooting out of the wound," as Zankawi rushed over, per Deutsche Welle. The athlete tried to create a tourniquet on Huang's leg with his hands, keeping the bleeding under control until medical staffers converged on the scene and whisked Huang off to the hospital. The official was later found to have suffered a broken leg from the impact. "Currently his vital signs are stable," an Asian Games spokesperson said at a presser Sunday. France 24 reports that a concerned Zankawi visited Huang in the hospital to apologize, and the two men posed for a photo together.

"After I got to him, I discovered a slit in his trousers and saw blood pouring from the leg, and I knew it was broken," Zankawi, who came in eighth in the event, tells France 24. He adds he was just glad Huang wasn't more seriously injured. "Thank god the hammer hit the ground before it hit his leg," he says. Reuters notes that after the accident, commenters on the Chinese social media site Weibo complained there should be better safety protocols for the hammer throw. The netting is designed to hang loosely to keep the hammer from bouncing back at the athletes, but "the power and velocity of the ... flying metal ball [means] the netting [can] only slightly cushion the hammer's flight, not stop it" from hitting someone on the other side. (Read more Asian Games stories.)

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