Of all of the potential complications to delay competition at World Championships, a golf cart crash seemed like an unlikely option. But on Thursday, a group of 200-meter semifinal competitors were involved in a collision on their way to the track, leaving Jamaica's Andrew Hudson to decide whether he should race with blurred vision.
American and 100-meter world champion Noah Lyles was involved in the golf cart crash along with the rest of his 200-meter opponents at the World Athletics Championships in Hungary. The accident threw a wrench into the semifinal race, which Lyles won in 19.76 seconds as the fastest qualifier going into Friday's final.
This isn't something that could happen at most athletics meets, but worlds are taking place at Budapest's brand-new and expansive National Athletics Centre. The facilities are so large that athletes warm up not at the main stadium but at another area located just beyond a small river. When it's time to compete, they are picked up and carted through the grounds.
Through the now six days of competition, NBC's broadcast has featured cuts to anxious and focused-looking opponents riding in silence on their way to the big stage. Video of Thursday's collision is nerve-wracking for other reasons.
The aerial footage shows the cart rolling down a sidewalk outside of the stadium as an oncoming cart T-bones Lyles, Hudson and the rest of their group.
Another clip shows the inside perspective, in which Hudson presses on his eye and Lyles calls for help:
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The other cart was being driven by a volunteer who was "fine" after the fender-bender, according to a statement from World Athletics, via the Associated Press.
Hudson was cleared to race despite his eye injury and came in fifth with a time of 20.38 seconds. This is his first appearance at world championships, and he was placed in the final by a referee's decision. American Joseph Fahnbulleh was the final time qualifier, running 20.21 seconds.
“I did the best I could do,” Hudson said in an interview with NBC after the race. “I was sitting in the middle of the room for, like, 20 minutes, trying to have a decision if I was going to compete or not. I worked hard to be here. And even under circumstances, everybody has hurdles in life. If I can run, I’m going to try my best. So I tried.”
The 26-year-old was ranked 11th in the world this year and has a personal-best time of 19.87. On Friday, he will compete against Lyles, who spoke about the scare after the race:
“Thankfully, I had no issues,” he said of how he felt. “Unfortunately, Andrew Hudson did seem to get some glass in his eye, which was the holdup. You know, I think everybody was really worried about him.”
Lyles was last year's 200-meter gold medalist. He is looking to defend the title and complete a rare double after winning the 100 gold earlier this week.