Thomas van der Plaetsen suffers horrendous injury at Tokyo Olympics

Belgium’s Thomas van der Plaetsen suffered a serious-looking leg injury during the men’s decathlon long jump at Tokyo 2020.

The 30-year-old won the gold medal at the 2016 European Championships, and finished eighth in the event at Rio 2016.

He finished the first event of the decathlon in fourth place in his 100m heat. His time of 11.05 was a season best.

Van der Plaetsen then competed in the long jump – the second event of the decathlon.

But it would all end in disaster. As he performed the launch at the end of the run-up, he suffered a serious-looking leg injury and collapsed forward into the sandpit.

He was then forced to leave the arena in a wheelchair.

Live on-air, Eurosport commentator Martin Gillingham said: “It didn’t look good.

“He aborted the first take-off, walked rather gingerly back feeling the back of his hamstring and then went again.

“At the point of take-off it just didn’t happen. All the pressure is going on the take-off leg. It’s desperately unfortunate.”

Van der Plaetsen has had to overcome many major battles in order to reach the top of his sport.

In 2014, the Belgian was diagnosed with testicular cancer after an abnormal result was discovered following an out-of-competition doping control. He underwent surgery to remove the tumour, followed by a course of chemotherapy.

He returned to competition in time for the World Championships in 2015, and finished in 14th place in the decathlon.

A year later came the gold medal in Amsterdam, followed up by his first appearance at an Olympic Games in Rio.

The exact nature of the injuries suffered in the long jump at Tokyo have yet to be confirmed, but it goes without saying that everyone wishes him a speedy recovery.

Featured Image Credit: Getty