Japanese woman completes long-distance relay race despite leg injury - on all fours

Japanese Rei Iida was participating in the Princess Ekiden relay race in Fukuoka prefecture, when she tripped and suffered a serious leg injury.
Japanese Rei Iida was participating in the Princess Ekiden relay race in Fukuoka prefecture, when she tripped and suffered a serious leg injury.PHOTO: SCREENGRABS FROM YOUTUBE

Despite stumbling and injuring her right leg during a long-distance relay race in Western Japan, a 19-year-old university student was so determined to cross the finish line that she crawled on all fours.

Japanese Rei Iida was participating in the Princess Ekiden relay race in Fukuoka prefecture on Sunday (Oct 21), when she tripped and suffered a serious leg injury.

A popular spectator sport in Japan, the race is typically held on the roads, though there are variations in the distance and number of runners in each iteration.

Iida, a member of the Iwatani Sangyo team, was just 200m away from passing the sash to her team member when she realised that she could not run any further and began crawling on her hands and knees, reported Japan's public broadcaster NHK World.

A video of the live broadcast uploaded on YouTube shows blood-stained bruises on Iida's knees, as she inched her way towards her team member.

Race officials and even commentators of the live broadcast could be heard cheering her on, reported Hong Kong's Apple Daily.

However, on Monday, the head coach of Iwatani Sangyo said that he had informed the race organisers of the team's intention to drop out of the race when Iida was injured, but it was "regrettable" that the organisers failed to stop her.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjrdnhwYUO4

Iida was found to have fractured her leg and doctors have told her that she would need about four months to recover.

According to NHK World, the organisers said the staff could not stop Iida because of her eagerness to continue the race.

The organisers added that going forward, they will look at ways to improve communication during such incidents.