‘A true fighter’: Russian fencer leaves medal ceremony in WHEELCHAIR after defying injury to help team win Tokyo gold (VIDEO)
Russian fencer Marta Martyanova has captured hearts in her homeland after battling through injury to help the ROC team win the foil gold medal against France at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The 22-year-old injured her ankle early in the final on Thursday and received treatment for around five minutes before returning to the piste.
Once her ankle had been wrapped up, Martyanova soldiered on and contributed 14 points as the ROC team triumphed 45-34.
Initially a substitute herself in stepping in for Adelina Zagidullina earlier in the tournament, Martyanova was unable to be replaced despite her injury as reverse substitutions are prohibited at the Olympics.
"I was injured but the most important thing for me was to understand that we don’t have any more changes," Martyanova later said.
"I didn’t have a chance to think about anything else but competing and make the touch.
"I tried not to feel the pain but to feel that I should support my team."
And with the help of Zagidullina, she jumped on one leg to celebrate the heroic feat along with teammates Larisa Korobeynikova and Inna Deriglazova.
Martyanova's bravery has seen her receive widespread praise from her compatriots, with the Russian Olympic Committee Instagram account explaining how Martyanova was "practically carried by her friends after the awarding ceremony."
"She was able to walk on one leg to the wheelchair and literally collapsed on top of it in tears," a statement continued.
"There was no more strength to endure the pain. She couldn’t step on her injured leg anymore. She fought in this condition in the final half an hour ago."
"If Marta hadn’t continued, our team would have been removed from the tournament, since there were no more substitutions," it was pointed out.
"There are no words and epithets to pay tribute to her heroism. This requires unconditional nationwide recognition and a deep bow at her feet…"
"This is the Olympics. This is victory. And these are our fantastic girls! There are no others like them in the world!"Also on rt.com Foiling their rivals: ROC women’s team take home fencing gold after victory over France at Tokyo 2020
Replies to the post were highly appreciative of the "real warrior", with one saying: "Marta, get well soon! You’re a true fighter."
"Get well soon – these are our heroes!" ran another, as someone else admitted, "I have tears in my eyes because of your dedication and work for the glory of the team and the country."