(Reuters) – Five-times Olympic champion Laura Kenny urged organisers to install bigger barriers at velodromes after a crash involving England’s Matt Walls at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Tokyo Games gold medallist Walls and two other cyclists were taken to hospital after a crash during the second heat of the men’s scratch race at Lee Valley VeloPark on Sunday.
Spectators were also hurt after Walls and his bike came over the top of the barriers on the high banking at a corner of the track. Walls received treatment from paramedics for 40 minutes before leaving in an ambulance but escaped without serious injury.
“I think the crashes are getting worse and it’s because the speeds are getting higher, the positions are getting more extreme,” said Kenny after finishing 13th in the points race.
“At some point the UCI (International Cycling Union) are going to have to put a cap on these positions. Maybe there should be screens because Matt should not have been able to go over the top and into the crowd – that’s pretty damn dangerous.”
The 30-year-old added that the crash had left her unsure whether she should compete in her event.
“It was playing on my mind earlier, I messaged Jason (her husband) and said: ‘I’m not sure I even want to do this.’ It just puts everything into perspective when something like that happens.”
The crash was the second major incident in cycling at the Games after England’s Joe Truman suffered a broken collarbone.
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in New Delhi; Editing by Peter Rutherford)