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A paralympic athlete was killed after a discus cage fell on him during training at a leisure centre in East London, his sports federation claimed today.
The Health and Safety Executive was today launching an investigation after javelin star Abdullah Hayayei was killed at Newham Leisure Centre.
The 36-year-old, from the United Arab Emirates, was preparing for the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 which begin on Friday.
Majid Al Usaimi, the vice president of the UAE Disabled Sports Federation, claimed “the metal discus cage fell on his head”. He told Dubai Sports TV: “We are overcome by grief, all of the UAE delegation here in London, and are truly shocked by this news, but it is God’s will.
“We cannot discuss the details of the incident but what I can say is that during afternoon practice for the throwing team, at the official training venue of the competition, Abdullah was going through his usual training routines, before the metal discus cage fell on his head. The on-site medical staff tried to help him but to no avail.”
He confirmed the UAE team would still compete at the World Championships. “We had a meeting with the entire delegation and decided to continue our journey here, with greater motivation in honour of and as a tribute to our brother Abdullah,” he said.
Paramedics rushed to the sports centre at around 5pm yesterday but were unable to save the athlete who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Tributes from around the world have been pouring in for Hayayei, who competed in a number of events including the javelin, discus and shot-put and made his Paralympic debut in Rio last year. A moment of silence will be held in his honour during Friday’s opening ceremony at the London Stadium.
A Met spokesman said: “At this early stage, it is believed the man was struck by a metal pole which formed part of training facilities at the centre.”
London 2017 was to be Hayayei’s second World Championships. Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said: “We are all in a state of shock.”
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