Marissa Papaconstantinou was in podium position halfway through the women’s T44 200m at the World Para Athletics Championships. That’s about the time the 17-year-old Canadian, who was sitting in third at the end of the bend, says she felt her hamstring “pop.”
Later diagnosed as a torn hamstring, Papaconstantinou, a 2016 Paralympian, fell to the track at the Olympic Stadium in London. Amidst heavy rain, Papaconstantinou got up and finished the race, grimacing. She finished in 58.06, 32 seconds behind T44 200m champion Marlou Van Rhijn. (The T44 classification is for any athlete with a unilateral or a combination of lower limb impairment(s).)
Germany’s Irmgard Bensusan and Spain’s Sara Andres Barrio, the silver and bronze medallists, respectively, took notice of Papaconstantinou in pain and signaled for medical help at the finish line. The Toronto teen told Canadian Running that she will be in recovery phase for about two months.
“Well this is definitely not how I pictured my 2017 season to end,” she wrote on Instagram. “I was feeling so strong, and was in third place with about 90m to go where I felt my hamstring pop. That big hole on the screen is a tear that I’m gonna have to rehab to make sure I come back to good health. As frustrated as I am, it’s yet again another learning experience and it’s gonna make me stronger. I did finish the race even though I hopped to the end in a lot of pain, but I finished. Thank you everyone for all the support I’ve gotten and the nice messages, it means the world! Second world champs is done and I literally left it with a bang lol. MP out.”
Papaconstantinou first got into athletics when she was 11 and has represented Canada at the 2015 IPC World Championships, as it was then-known and the Rio Olympics in addition to this year’s World Para Athletics Championships. Earlier at London 2017, she set a 100m PB in the heats, 13.49, and went on to finish sixth in the T44 100m final.
She was born without her right foot, according to her Canadian Paralympic Committee profile, and was fitted with her first running blade while training with the Phoenix Track Club in Scarborough, Ont.
— Athletics Canada (@AthleticsCanada) July 23, 2017
The 2017 World Para Athletics Championships concluded on July 23. The IAAF World Championships will take place, also in London, Aug. 4-13.