'Tough to swallow': Olympic hopeful blinded in freak accident

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

British hockey star Sam Ward has shared gruesome pictures of the aftermath of emergency eye surgery, after he was hit in the face by a ball and partially blinded.

The Olympic hopeful lost vision in his left eye after the accident, with surgeons needing to make an incision on his head to be able to operate on his eye socket.

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Sharing pictures of himself after the surgery on Instagram, Ward said he was hopeful the surgery would see the vision in his left eye return eventually.

The 28-year-old’s coach, Danny Kerry, said the forward was still hoping to compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and that the full extent of the injury might not be known for several months.

According to The Sun, Ward will continue to target next year’s Olympics, pending the return of his vision.

English hockey star Sam Walsh shared images of the aftermath of the surgery required to repair his eye socket after a freak accident on the field during an Olympic qualifying match against Malaysia. Pictures: Instagram/samuel_ward13

“They have all told me that I have suffered damage to the retina of my left eye and that this damage is partly irreversible,” Ward said.

“I may get some sight back, but this won’t be a quick process, and whether it will be sufficient for me to get back to playing international hockey only time will tell.

“It is a tough pill to swallow but, as people know, I am not one to give up easily and I will do everything I can to make myself available for selection for Tokyo.”

Ward was struck by the ball during an Olympic qualifying match against Malaysia.

WADA seeking unprecedented anti-doping sanction against Russia

The World Anti-Doping Agency committee that has been investigating Russia has recommended the country face a four-year ban from global sports, Tariq Panja of the New York Times reported Monday. WADA confirmed it would recommend the punishment in a release later in the afternoon.

The news came after the committee discovered Russian officials had erased failed doping tests from the submitted database it was required to release.

If Russia is banned four years beginning 1 January 2020, it would end up missing three straight Olympic Games. The country was banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, though individual athletes cleared of doping competed as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” in neutral apparel. The punishment would eliminate Russia from Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 as well.

The country would also not be allowed to compete in a host of other events, such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup and other world championships.