March 30, 2014 (ISN) – Russian triathlete Ivan Kalashnikov has been knocked unconscious after being deliberately pushed off his bike and attacked while on a training ride in New Zealand.
Kalashnikov was cycling in the city of New Plymouth in the west of North Island when he began to receive abuse from a car full of five men.
When the 23-year-old from Yaroslavl was forced to touch the vehicle due to the close proximity of the car, one individual jumped out of the car, pushed him off his bike and began kicking and punching him in the head.
Kalashnikov, who was in New Plymouth to compete in the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Cup event in the city last weekend, had four teeth knocked out in the attack and suffered cuts to the inside of his mouth and a grazed chin.
His cycle helmet was also broken.
He was aided by several members of the public and, after three hours at the police station, he was forced to visit both a doctor and dentist and receive stitches to his cut mouth.
Ivan Kalashnikov finished 36th in the World Cup event behind Spanish winner Mario Mola and has been a regular on the international scene for the last five years during which he has graduated from the junior to the senior ranks.
He finished 21st in the under-23 race at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in London’s Hyde Park last September.
But despite his latest ordeal, the Russian insisted that he had not been put off New Plymouth and he expressed his gratefulness to the support he received.
“It’s a beautiful city, I would like to come back and I want to,” he said.
“In Russia we have the same sort of people, every city has the same sort of people.”
Police have arrested a 17-year-old New Plymouth youth in connection with the attack.
He has appeared in the District Court charged with injuring with intent to injure, and was remanded on bail, with a 24-hour curfew, to reappear on April 17.