Aussie sailing contender hampered by unusual start-line injury

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Australian Olympic sailor Mara Stransky stepped on a sea urchin just before her first heats in Tokyo.
Australian Olympic sailor Mara Stransky's debut in Tokyo was hampered after she stepped on a sea urchin climbing into her Laser before the first two heats. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Australian sailor Mara Stransky's Olympic debut couldn't have gotten off to a more painful start.

The 22-year-old's medal chances fortunately remain intact despite her stepping on a sea urchin in the moments prior to her opening two heats in the Laser Radial sailing competition.

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She nevertheless completed her opening two heats, finishing 12th and 26th, before having her foot checked by team medical staff.

Stransky is expected to continue racing when her competition resumes on Monday.

It is understood Stransky's foot was cut on the sea urchin's spikes, but the footwear she was wearing saved the Australian from a more serious wound.

Her results left Stransky 21st out of 27 sailors in her class, with eight more rounds before the medal race.

“It was low tide and as I went to jump on my boat, I stood on a sea urchin and felt the spine go through my boot and into my foot,’’ she said.

“So I spent my sail out to the start line trying to get bits of sea creature out of my foot and boot."

Also on Sunday, medal contender Matt Wearn had a frustrating start to his competition in the one-man Laser class.

Wearn was 17th in his opening heat and the second race was postponed just after halfway because of light winds.

Swimmers win Australia's first medals at Tokyo Olympics

Swimmers Jack McLoughlin and Brendon Smith claimed Australia's first medals for male athletes at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.

McLoughlin has won silver in the 400m freestyle final after Smith claimed bronze in the 400m individual medley.

McLoughlin and compatriot Elijah Winnington surged into the final as gold medal fancies having tied in their heat on Saturday.

However it wasn't to be as McLoughlin faded late to claim the silver medal.

Tunisian 18-year-old Ahmed Hafnaoui won gold in Lane 8, while Winnington finished seventh.

McLoughlin's silver follows compatriot Mack Horton's gold in the race at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Australia's Jack McLoughlin p[oses after winning the silver medal in the 400m freestyle at theTokyo Olympics. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Australia's Jack McLoughlin p[oses after winning the silver medal in the 400m freestyle at theTokyo Olympics. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

"They are the world to me," McLoughlin said about the support of his family.

"Everyone says swimming is an individual sport but it is not. I like to think of it as I'm the F1 car and I pilot it with this thing and that thing but they are my pit crew.

"They are doing everything to help me out. It just means the absolute world to me to have them by my side.

"My parents my family, my beautiful girlfriend and all her family. There are so many people there. It is not just one person here, it is the whole place.

"They mean the world. I say a huge thank you to everyone who got me here."

McLoughlin was on target for victory, leading by 0.31 seconds with just 50m to swim.

But Hafnaoui charged to victory with a flying last 50m, winning by just 0.16 seconds from the Australian.

With AAP

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