Snell tried to defy heart attack to attend World Athletics Heritage Mile Night

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From Inside the Games

New Zealand’s triple Olympic champion Peter Snell attempted to defy a serious heart problem in order to attend the World Athletics Heritage Mile Night event that took place here tonight.

The 80-year-old, who won Olympic 800 metres gold at Rome 1960 and did the 800m and1500m double four years later in Tokyo, eventually decided not to risk the long flight from his home  to Nice after falling ill again when he got to the airport at his home in Dallas.

Reports said Snell, who first developed heart problems in 2010, suffered further problems last week when his heart briefly stopped.

But after recovering he still arrived at the airport to try and board his flight.

Now back home, Snell sent the following message to a galaxy of fellow mile stars including Ireland’s 1956 Olympic 1500m champion Ron Delany and former world 5000m champion and world indoor mile record holder Eamonn Coghlan, Morocco’s world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj and former mile world record holders including Britain’s Steve Cram, New Zealand’s John Walker, Tanzania’s Filbert Bayi and World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.

“I am deeply disappointed in not being able to join you tonight,” Snell said.

“I even tried to go against my heart failure doctor’s advice and showed up at the airport for my flight.

“I felt that it was too risky to board an eight-hour flight given how poorly I was feeling at the time.

” I wish my mile record colleagues all the best and hope you have a wonderful evening.

“Thanks to Seb Coe and World Athletics for making it happen.”

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