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An Attack On Black Italian Discus Thrower Daisy Osakue Is Being Investigated For Racism

Osakue, 22, may not be able to represent her country at the upcoming European Athletics Championships after suffering damage to her cornea.

Posted on July 31, 2018, at 4:10 p.m. ET

Italian discus thrower Daisy Osakue was injured in a suspected racially motivated attack in Turin on Monday.

Nurphoto / Getty Images

Osakue, 22, is a rising track and field star who specializes in the discus throw. Born in Italy to Nigerian immigrant parents, she is an Italian citizen who attends and trains at Angelo State University in Texas during the school year.

She holds Italy's under-23 discus record as well as the NCAA Division II record, which she broke during competition in April.

Osakue said she was hit in the face by an egg thrown at her from a moving car. The egg shattered upon impact and eggshell fragments entered her eye, causing damage to her cornea.

Alessandro Di Marco/ANSA via AP

Leaving a hospital clinic Monday evening, the athlete told reporters that she had been crossing a street on the outskirts of Turin when she saw a car speeding toward her. As she was running to get out of the way, she felt something hit her face, causing her to fall forward.

“I’m sorry to say it, but I think we’re dealing with racism,” Osakue said.

The 22-year-old said that she thinks she might have been mistaken for one of the African sex workers who work the streets in and around the area where she was walking.

“I don’t want to play the sexism or racism card, but people should be able to go out without someone attacking you out of the blue,” she told the BBC.

Adam Nurkiewicz / Getty Images

“I was very scared. I was alone, in a dark street — I thought they had thrown acid on me,” Osakue told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The athlete said that she believes “120%” that the attack was motivated by racism.

“I have no enemies. Nobody has ever threatened me,” she added. “I do not believe there are any sporting rivalries behind this episode.”

“They did it on purpose,” Osakue said. “They did not want to hit me, Daisy, they wanted to hit a black girl.”

Congratulations to Daisy Osakue of Angelo State, she is the 2018 #D2TF Women's Discus National Champion! 🎖️

The Associated Press reported that the attack on Osakue is the ninth such incident involving “asylum-seekers, legal immigrants and others who aren’t ethnic Italians” and that is being investigated as a possible act of racism since Italy’s anti-migrant government took power in June.

In an interview with Italian news agency ANSA, Osakue said she believes the growing right-wing rhetoric in the country has contributed to increased attacks and hostility toward immigrants and people of color.

Osakue said she has been the focus of verbal racist attacks in the past, but never physical violence.

Before the attack, Osakue was looking forward to representing Italy at the European Athletics Championships. Now she hopes she’ll still be able to participate next week, in spite of her injuries.

Count down to the European Championship 💪🏾 can't wait to compete!! 🤘🏾 #throwfarorgohome https://t.co/KDFJP0G120

The attack on Osakue, meanwhile, has sparked international outrage.

Daisy Osakue, 22 years old, is the most talented under 23 Italian athlete in the discus throw. She was injured by a bunch of guys in a allegedly racial-motivated attack If so, this is just the last of such shocking attacks recently occurring in #Italy I’ll thread about this later https://t.co/uZe31k40dU

Daisy Osakue was the victim or a racially motivated, hate crime recently in Italy. She’s a champion athlete, an amazing person, and so much more, but none of that maters because some people don’t see the greatness of a person, they only see color. Please RT #JusticeForDaisyOsakue https://t.co/yWBbvAQT1T

Daisy Osakue, Italienne, 23 ans, championne d'athlétisme, agressée à Turin parce que noire. Blessée à l'œil, sa participation aux championnats d'Europe est compromise. https://t.co/zlZziUvqIc

#DaisyOsakue is a true Italian🇮🇹 treasure and we should cherish her talent. Unfortunately, rather than being able to represent her country at the athletics games in Berlin, she is currently representing the many people subject to racist attacks in Italy. https://t.co/XVjTqpBfFr

Another racist attack in Italy. Dozens of such episodes over last weeks. Matteo Salvini, interior minister, should be put on trial for instigating racial violence. Full solidarity to #DaisyOsakue from @EuroAlter @DiEM_25 @CIVICUSalliance RT @l_marsili https://t.co/J7nmGsLRGE

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