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UK Athletics

Dramatic crash for Shelly Woods

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 dramatic crash ruled wheelchair racer Shelly Woods out of the finals at the US Paralympics Track and Field National Championships in Atlanta, Georgia at the weekend.


The 20-year-old from Blackpool had been in impressive form at the championships, which marked the 10th anniversary of the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games.


She had already set personal bests in the semi-finals of the 400m and 800m to qualify for the finals of both events, before the collision with Australia’s Eliza Stankovic in the T53/54 1500m semi-final.


“It was pretty spectacular,” said Shelly. ”We were about 500m into the race and travelling at about 26 or 27kph.  There was a lot of jockeying around for places.


“I’ve watched it back on camera and it really made me cringe. I did a kind of double side somersault. It all happened so quickly  - one second I was on the track and the next second I was on the field.


“There was a lot of blood everywhere, but they took me to hospital and luckily I haven’t broken anything,” she added.


“I lacerated my left palm because I put my hand out when I fell, but if I hadn’t I think I would have smashed my shoulder big time,” she added. “I think I was a little bit lucky.”


Shelly was planning to miss the next big race in the USA – the Peachtree 10k, also in Atlanta – so as not to risk tearing her stitches and further damaging her hand – particularly with the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships taking place in the Netherlands in September.


But she’s keen to get back on the track again as soon as she can.


“I’ve had some crashes in training, but nothing as big as that. I want to get back racing as soon as I can to restore my confidence of racing in a pack,” she said.


Before the 1500m, Shelly had already recorded pbs for 400m and 800m.  She clocked a time of 59.83 seconds in the 400m semi-final – taking more than a second off her old personal best of 61.2. She also took a big slice off her 800m best time, clocking a time of 1:55.61 – down from 1:58.95.


“I’ve been working on my sprinting in the last few weeks, as it will help my marathons and hopefully help me at the World Championships. It was going really well until the 1500m,” she said.