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Terrorist attack victim finishes Antwerp 10 Mile race

15:43 23/04/2018
Having undergone 11 surgeries to his leg and hip following the bombing of Brussels Airport, Sebastien Bellin finished Antwerp’s annual race in under two hours

Sebastien Bellin, who lost part of his left leg at Brussels Airport during the bombing in 2016, completed the Antwerp 10 Miles race yesterday, with much media attention and not a little emotion.

Bellin was born to Belgian parents in Brazil, moving to the US as an adolescent. He played college basketball and eventually turned pro, playing in Brazil and eventually for Belgium’s national team. He retired from the sport in 2010 and moved back to the US.

He is now a partner in a sports streaming start-up, which requires much air travel. He was in Brussels Airport on 22 March 2016, heading back to the US after a business trip to Belgium.

Bellin than had to stay in Belgium for three months following the bombing, undergoing six surgeries to his leg and right hip. Five additional surgeries would follow in the US.

‘Grateful to have another chance’

“I just want to cross the finish line; that’s my goal,” he told VRT before the race. “Two years and one month ago, the doctors told me I would never walk again and that I might lose my leg. I always believed that that was not going to be the case.”

The 39-year-old finished yesterday’s 16-kilometre race in less than two hours. Visibly emotional following the race, Bellin said that there were “32 victims who could have been here who lost their lives. I thought about every one of them. I’m just very grateful to have another chance. I’m one of the lucky ones.”

Bellin will be spending a lot more time in Belgium: He was appointed general manger of Charleroi’s bastketball team earlier this year.

The Antwerp 10 Miles & Marathon includes a 42-kilometre marathon, the 16-kilometre 10 Mile, a short run and a kids’ run. As it turned out, finishing the longer races was difficult, even for those not recovering from such an injury.

More than 40,000 people took part in one of the races. With temperatures reaching 26°C, more than 40 runners required medical assistance. As of this morning, 19 were still in hospital.

Photo: Courtesy ATV

 

Written by Lisa Bradshaw