The American figure skater Mariah Bell has been accused of deliberately “stabbing” a rival, the South Korean Lim Eun-soo, at the world championships in Saitama, Japan.
Lim received a gash to her calf from the blade of one of Bell’s skates when the pair collided during a warm-up on the ice, and her agency, All That Sports, has blamed Bell for setting out to intentionally injure her opponent.
The pair train under the same coach in Los Angeles, and the agency claimed to Korean outlet Yonhap News that Lim has been bullied for several months by the American.
Lim, 16, was treated for the injury and later competed with a plaster over the wound on her leg. She finished the day fifth, one place ahead the of 22-year-old Bell.
The governing body for figure skating, the International Skating Union, has said it will investigate the incident but commented that any intent would be “difficult to prove”.
“At this stage we can’t conclude Bell caused the injury on purpose,” an official told Japan Times. “It is hard to tell just by watching the video footage of the incident.”
Bell has received a torrent of abuse on her Instagram account since the news broke. Neither skater has yet commented on the incident.