Polish Olympic athlete auctions silver medal to help sick child - GulfToday

Polish Olympic athlete auctions silver medal to help sick child

Maria Andrejczyk

Silver medallist Poland's Maria Andrejczyk celebrates on the podium during the victory ceremony for the women's javelin throw event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 7, 2021. (AFP)

An Olympic athlete from Poland auctioned her silver medal from the Tokyo Games to raise money for a life-saving operation for an infant boy, and then was told by the buyer that she could keep her prize.

Maria Andrejczyk, a 25-year-old javelin thrower who overcame bone cancer and a shoulder injury to compete at this year’s Olympics, said she decided to auction her medal to help the boy knowing how much she had to “fight against adversity and pain.”

The money is for Milosz Malysa, an infant with a heart defect whose family has been raising funds for him to be operated on in the United States. Milosz’s parents posted last week that the boy was at risk of dying soon without the surgery.

Zabka, a popular convenience store chain in Poland, bid 200,000 zlotys ($51,000) but said it would let the athlete keep her medal.

“We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture of our Olympian,” Zabka said.

Fans have contributed an additional 300,000 ($76,500) to help the boy.

Even before the winning bid was made, the authorities in Andrejczyk’s community in Poland said they were prepared to make her a replica of the medal.

Meanwhile, Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs, who claimed a shock Olympic triumph in the 100m, said Friday he decided not to run again until 2022 so he could be in top form next year.

“It’s not a simple decision,” he said in an interview on Rai 1 public television, the day after announcing the pause on social media.

“I am the first to want to compete every week, but you get to a certain point in which you realise that it does not end here, in the sense that this is only a great starting point,” Jacobs said.

Almost unknown a year ago, the 26-year-old claimed a shock triumph in the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics as well as gold in the 4x100m relay. His stunning victory was achieved in a European record of 9.80sec.

The Texas-born sprinter had been scheduled to next run on Aug.21 at the Eugene Diamond League meet in the United States, before appearing in Brussels and Zurich in early September.

“Next year there are some very important events,” including the European and world championships, he said, and “every time I race I want to raise the bar”.

More work was needed, he said, and “for next year I want to arrive the top of the top, confirm (my results), actually improve on what I achieved this year.”

Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera said on Thursday that Jacobs had called a halt after a fall blamed on “the accumulated fatigue of the Olympics as well as a knee problem”.

Eyebrows have been raised in some quarters about Jacobs’ performance, as before 2020, his times in the 100m had never gone below the 10-second barrier.

Britain’s The Times ran a story last weekend about how Jacobs’ former sports nutritionist was caught up in an Italian police investigation into the alleged illegal distribution of anabolic steroids.


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