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TAPES-UP: The Andy Warren column
IT WOULD be such a shame if the world title was decided by the horrific looking injury suffered by Emil Sayfutdinov on Saturday night.
For anyone who hasn’t seen it, and I wish I hadn’t, the Russian was pushed into the fence by Adrian Miedzinski in heat seven of Czestochowa’s 49-41 Polish Ekstraliga play-off semi-final first-leg defeat at Torun and was then subsequently run over by Kamil Brzozowski.
The Pole went over both of Emil’s legs and it looked for all the world as if at least one of them was broken, but fortunately, and perhaps miraculously, all that has been confirmed so far is a broken arm.
Even though speedway riders are as tough as they come he is of course now a major doubt for the next GP at Krsko on Saturday, and with only three round remaining it’s advantage Tai Woffinden.
Tai has a three point-lead which he will certainly extend in Slovenia and depending on how many points he does manage the title race could be over with two rounds to go.
Having a British world champion would be amazing for the sport in this country, very few, including Tai, would want it to end like this.
Emil is not the only rider to have suffered horrific looking injuries this season, with world champion Chris Holder the most high profile following his crash at Coventry which saw him break his hip, shoulder and heel earlier in the season.
Peter Karlsson and Ben Barker both broke bones in their back last week which could have been a lot worse, while Simon Stead broke his leg in practice earlier in the year.
Every rider knows the risks, but despite all the technological advances and air fences and jackets being introduced to the sport the injuries just keep happening.
Speedway will never be totally safe, and I suppose that’s part of the thrill of it for the riders and fans, but is there a way of looking after our riders a little more? I’m not so sure anything else can be done.
So far, touch wood, the Robins have been lucky with injuries and although they have had to do without Hans Andersen, Peter Kildemand, Ashley Birks, Kacper Gomolski and Nick Morris for short spells they have all returned pretty quickly.
Staying healthy is one of the biggest factors in teams winning titles, and hopefully Swindon’s run of luck will continue over the next month or so.
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