A snapped blade proved the unfortunate undoing of New Milton athlete Luke Sinnott after his truly bizarre World Para Athletics European Championships came to a close.
The blade runner and Paralympian competed in two events on the same night in Berlin but his chances of glory were thwarted when his equipment gave way during the T63 long jump competition.
Replacements were on hand but nothing proved suitable as he finished fourth in the event, then having to run in the 200m, again finishing off the podium.
Doing the two back-to-back was a task in itself but with a stroke of bad luck coming his way too, Sinnott couldn’t help but laugh at his misfortune.
“I don’t think many athletes would have carried on jumping after breaking their leg,” explained Sinnott, who almost claimed a surprise medal at last year’s home World Championships.
“Unfortunately, it was one of those things, equipment failure. Luckily enough someone had a spare blade but it was the wrong blade, it has just been one of those days.
“After effectively running about 500m flat out in the long jump, a 200m made it a tough day in the office.
“Those were not the results I wanted but it is all learning. I was feeling pretty lactic towards the end of the 200m.
“You give everything in the long jump, you really do, and scheduling wise they couldn’t have done anything worse for me.”
Two events in one night rather quickly brought Sinnott’s time in Berlin to a close, leaving the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark with more mixed memories than most.
But the 37-year-old still had a chance to revel in the occasion in Germany, with home favourite Heinrich Popow waving goodbye to the crowd in his final long jump event.
Denmark’s David Wagner was the eventual champion but Sinnott is hoping to keep the legacy of the German going, privileged just to share a farewell with the six-time Paralympic medallist.
But first he has a few technical kinks to iron out.
“For us, we have lost a great competitor, he is a good character to have around and hopefully we can continue keeping the long jump up high profile as he has done such a great job to get it where it is,” explained the double amputee, who lost both his legs in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan.
“I just went into the 200m giving it everything despite the blade issue, my motto is maximum effort and that’s what I put in.
“The blade snapped when I put the power in, I was due a replacement which didn’t come in time but it’s just one of those things.
“It sounds like a gunshot when it goes off and it’s not the first time – this is probably the eighth occasion but each one before this has been in training, so it’s a shame to do it in competition.”
British Athletics works alongside UK Sport and the National Lottery to support the delivery of success at the world’s most significant sporting events, principally the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They do this via the funded initiative, the World Class Programme, one part of the British Athletics pathway.