Mon, Mar 25, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Sam Hsieh knocked off triathlon bicycle by scooter

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Triathlete Sam Hsieh lies on a road after being hit by a scooter during the Ironman 70.3 Taiwan in Taitung yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Top Taiwanese hope Sam Hsieh (謝昇諺) was knocked off his bicycle by a scooter during an international triathlon in Taitung yesterday, while the county government fined the race organizers after finding that they had illegally used a public space for a dinner event.

Hsieh was riding in the Ironman 70.3 Taiwan on Provincial Highway No. 11 near Jhihben Bridge when the collision occurred.

He was third out of the water in the men’s event, 1 minute, 32 seconds behind Michael Raelert, with Bradley Weiss in second.

“I was making good speed to catch up to the leaders,” Hsieh wrote on Facebook after the race. “Then about 100m past Jhihben Bridge, a white scooter came fast from the right side, cutting into the course.”

“All I could do was yell and hold on tight. The woman rider on the scooter hit the brakes, but stopped in front of me. I had no way to avoid the collision,” he wrote.

“I lost consciousness for a short time. When I recovered and opened my eyes, a member of the event staff was by me,” Hsieh wrote. “I stayed down, afraid to move due to pain in my left calf, which I thought might be a bone fracture. However, the official examined me from the neck down, including my ribs and limbs and said there was no serious injury.”

“So slowly I stood up and was very lucky to find only minor scratches and bruises,” he said, adding that the scooter rider also did not sustain serious injuries.

Police officers arrived and collected statements and their contact information, he said.

He wanted to continue the race, but after about 50m on the bike, it was clear that damage to the handlebar and front would not allow him to continue.

“It would shake violently when braking, so I knew I could not finish,” he said.

Hsieh, 34, is known as the “Big Brother of Triathlon” in local circles, as he consistently finishes near the top in local races. He won the Taitung event in 2012, and has won in Tainan and Yilan. He placed ninth at an international Ironman event in Phuket, Thailand, that year.

The Ironman 70.3 Taiwan involved a 1.9km swim, a 90km ride and a 21.1km run for a total of 113km, which is the standard for international half-ironman events. Weiss, a South African, won in 3:58:19.

Fans took to Hsieh’s Facebook fan page to express their anger.

“The road should be shut to normal traffic. Where were the staff controlling the race?” one commenter asked.

Another wrote: “The organizers are negligent. How could they allow a stupid scooter rider to intrude on the course?”

Earlier, the Taitung City Government said that Taiwan Triathlon Co, which organized the event, had illegally used public space for a dinner in the city’s Nanjing Road Civic Square on Friday, issuing a fine of NT$10,000.

The company apologized yesterday.

“We organized the dinner at the square to let foreign athletes experience Taiwan’s banquet culture,” the company said. “We realize now that this was a breach of local by-laws. We accept the punishment.”

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