Thomas Van der Plaetsen’s bid for his first Olympic medal may have ended on his first day of competition at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
The Belgian’s incident happened in the long jump, just the second event in the decathlon. He made a good run to the starting point, but appeared to stumble on take-off, falling sideways into the sand pit; after being checked by coaches, he left the Olympic stadium in a wheelchair with the Belgian flag draped over his shoulders.
Below is a video of Van der Plaetsen’s injury, which he appears to have sustained in his ankle:
MORE: Olympic Games Track and Field Results: 2021 Medalists Update for Every Event at the Tokyo Games
Van der Plaetsen had only completed one event before the long jump, finishing 17th in the 100 meters with a time of 11.05 seconds and 850 points. He was looking to improve on his previous performance at the Rio 2016 Olympics when he finished eighth among the contestants. He had just finished sixth at the 2019 European Indoor Championships and ninth at the 2019 World Championships.
Van der Plaetsen won gold at the 2013 and ’15 Universiade Games, bronze at the 2014 World Indoor Championships (heptathlon) and gold at the 2016 European Championships. It is not known if he will be able to. continue to compete, although his lack of scoring in the long jump likely precludes any chance for a medal.