Japanese gymnast suffers serious spinal injury in training

Kitakyushu (Japan) (AFP) – Japanese gymnast Hitomi Hatakeda suffered a serious spinal injury on Wednesday after falling off the uneven bars in training, the Japan Gymnastics Association said.


Hatakeda, who appeared at the Tokyo Olympics, was taken to hospital and diagnosed with damage to her central spinal cord and bruising of the cervical vertebrae.

The 21-year-old qualified for Thursday's world championships all-around final in fourth place in Kitakyushu, in western Japan, but was forced to withdraw.

Hatakeda is coached by her mother Yukiko. Her father, Yoshiaki, is a former gymnast who won bronze in the team event for Japan at the 1992 Olympics.

Her younger sister, Chiaki, is also a gymnast.