Athletics: British sprinter collapses

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The Independent Online

The British sprinter Paula Thomas underwent emergency surgery after collapsing yesterday, three weeks before the Olympics.

The 30-year-old Thomas, who won the 100 metres bronze medal at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, was rushed to hospital in Helsinki where she had competed on Tuesday. Doctors removed her ovary and appendix after she began haemorrhaging.

Her coach, Jim Harris, said: "She had a ruptured ovary, she was haemorrhaging and all her insides were infected. They had to remove her ovary and appendix. I have spoken to her on the phone and she is sounding reasonably perky."

It is now touch and go for the former captain of the women's team as to whether she makes it to Atlanta. Harris added: "The doctors say she could be back in training in two or three weeks' time. But it is too early to say." Thomas has already been selected for the Olympic relay team and has qualifying times for the 100m and 200m.

Paul Evans has pulled out of the Olympic marathon and is asking Britain's selectors to name him for the 10,000m. The 35-year-old, third in the London Marathon, does not want to be away from home for nearly six weeks. He is replaced by 34-year-old Welshman Steve Brace.