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Alex Janardi in a coma after a deadly handbike crash in Italy

Alex Janardi in a coma after a deadly handbike crash in Italy
Niki J. Layton
Written by Niki J. Layton

The 53-year-old Zanardi, who is competing in Friday’s ‘Obiటిtevo tricolor’ relay race in Tuscany, Italy, has cut off both legs after a motor racing accident nearly 20 years ago.

According to multiple reports, he crossed the white line and into the path of the oncoming track, which could not escape him.

Following the accident, the Italian was taken to Santa Maria Alley Scott Hospital in Siena, where he underwent three hours of emergency neurosurgery for facial head injuries.

Zanardi was “stable” in intensive care following his operation, the hospital said in a statement.

“He is supported by encased and artificial ventilation, but the nervous image is severe,” read the medical bulletin.

As news of the seriousness of his accident spread, Janardi’s plight was captured in the headlines of all the major Italian sports papers.

“No Alex, no!” Courier dello Sport said, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte wrote on Twitter: “Come on Alex Alexandre. Don’t give up. Italy is fighting you.”

In the US, who became the champion of the series in 1997 and 1998, Zanardi competed in the F1 for Jordan, Minardi and Lotus.

He returned to F1 with Williams for a season in 1999 before returning to the CART series.

On the same principle, he survived his infamous 320km accident at Lట్sitzring, Germany, in September 2001, escaping his survivor, but missing both legs.

In a spectacular display of determination and spirit, Zanardi returned to his prosthetic legs and took part in the European Touring Car Championship in 2003, driving for BMW.

The Bologna native, who won multiple medals at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics and World Championships, is well known to a worldwide audience.

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He is in training for the Tokyo Paralympics this year, hoping to add his magnificent medal until the gold medals are postponed.

Zanardi also competed in the Ironman Triathlon races, setting a new world best for the Paralympic athlete in a race in Italy last September, as well as specially adapted BMWs at various endurance motorsport events.

Former F1 World Champion and Indie Car legend Mario Andretti writes, “There have been support messages across the sports world:” I was so anxious and scared about Alex Zanardi, I was holding my breath, I was his fan, I was his friend.

“Please do what I do and pray, pray for this wonderful person,” he tweeted.

“Alex is one of life’s truly inspirational people and, as we all know, is a fighting fighter. Stay strong and Forza Alex,” his former Williams team posted on Twitter.

“Fight as you know how to do Alex. You are a very great man, courage,” Ferrari star Charles Leclerc tweeted in Italian.

About the author

Niki J. Layton

Niki J. Layton

Niki J. Layton is a journalist who writes on politics, environment and human rights in South Asia.

For 15 years, she has written for several publications and websites including TIME, Harper's, Al Jazeera, The Caravan, The Hindu, Scroll.in, Outlook, The Wire, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Economic Times, Tehelka, and news channel CNN-IBN. She is an India correspondent for The Straits Times, Singapore.

Some of the awards she has received are the Red Cross Award for reporting on conflict, Mumbai press award for environmental reporting, and ILO award for writing on labour. Niki has a Masters in political journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, New York

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