John Weekes

John Weekes is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Hurt BMX riders clog hospitals

Sarah Walker in the time trial during day four of the UCI BMX World Championships at Vector Arena yesterday. Photo / Getty Images
Sarah Walker in the time trial during day four of the UCI BMX World Championships at Vector Arena yesterday. Photo / Getty Images

At least 30 people were taken to hospital after accidents in this week's BMX world championships.

Auckland City Hospital and Starship treated 30 to 40 competitors between Tuesday and noon yesterday.

A local man told the Herald on Sunday that it took him four hours on Wednesday night to get stitches at Auckland City because doctors were busy treating BMX riders.

Nurses were complaining that BMX patients were haemorrhaging staff resources, he said.

"People were really waiting a long, long time."

BMX champs official doctor Tom Zasada said it was not unusual to have such an injury level, with more than 2,000 competitors.

"Most of the injuries were minor, and the riders were taken to hospital as a precaution in many cases. There were no severe injuries requiring an extended stay in hospital."

Some of the world's top BMX riders voiced concerns about the tight nature of the Vector Arena track. On Monday, Marc Willers tweeted a photo of the venue and its ramps, writing: "It's embarrassing to be a Kiwi this week ... Does anybody have any common sense these days?"

Yet reigning world champion Sam Willoughby gave the track his endorsement.

"For the size of arena it is, there's not much more you could have done with it. I would much rather be in a tight arena that's going to be jam-packed with people than being out in the mud," he told APNZ.

The shortened first straight favoured tight and technical riding rather than aerial riders.

This week's line-up included London Olympic silver medallist Sarah Walker, who finished sixth last night in the super time trial.

- Herald on Sunday

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n1 at 29 Jul 2014 05:57:07 Processing Time: 639ms