The feat of Wilfried Happio, French champion in the 400m hurdles after being attacked during the warm-up

The feat of Wilfried Happio, French champion in the 400m hurdles after being attacked during the warm-up

When he appeared in the home stretch of the 400m hurdles final of the French Elite Athletics Championships this Saturday evening, Wilfried Happio attracted all eyes from the main stand of the Hélitas stadium in Caen. Harangued by the public, the tricolor athlete gave the best of himself to snatch the title in 48′’57 and more: a qualification at the next Worlds in Eugene, in the United States (July 15-24).

To the admiration of the assistance was added a question: what was this black band across the left eye of the runner? Just crowned with his coronation, Wilfried Happio appeared in front of the journalists with a bloody nose. The consequence of an attack during the warm-up, on a field located a few hundred meters from the competition stadium.

Around 6:30 p.m., a man accredited to access this land entered the track and hit Wilfried Happio several times, injuring him in the face. The individual was subdued by the athlete’s staff and taken care of by the municipal police. Stunned, the victim received some care in a hurry and was able to recover in time to start the final, three quarters of an hour later.

The Federation will file a complaint

A powerful race, the fastest in the history of the French championships, for a victory and a decisive time to defend its chances at the highest level this summer. At the finish, Wilfried Happio could burst into a furious joy. The performance is incredible given the circumstances.

“Initially, I felt like I was in training, at home, with a daily warm-up and training. The feelings were good. I’m happy with this time, to do the minimums. It completes the season, ”slipped the French champion in a press conference, in a very calm tone, apologizing for bleeding from the nose. Asked about the beatings, he quickly eluded: “It’s okay, it’s okay, I don’t want to dwell on it. We will leave that to the competent people”, before leaving the mixed zone towards the hospital, where he was further examined.

The French Athletics Federation and the city of Caen will file a complaint this Sunday against the author of the blows, unknown to the organization, who is trying to find out in what capacity this man had access to the training ground. The hypothesis of a theft of this accreditation was not excluded this Saturday evening.

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