World Championships stars injured in Gwangju nightclub accident

Athletes competing at the World Aquatics Championships were among those to suffer injuries after an internal balcony collapsed inside a nightclub in South Korea.

The incident happened in the early hours of Saturday in Gwangju at a venue close to the athletes' village, as confirmed by the local fire department.

Local reports said two people died in the collapse and that neither was an athlete.

USA Water Polo said in a statement on their website that a "handful" of their athletes suffered non-life-threatening injuries while out celebrating the women's team winning the gold medal.

Kaleigh Gilchrist underwent surgery after suffering what was described as a "deep laceration", while Paige Hauschild (right arm) and Johnny Hooper (left hand) required stitches for cuts. Ben Hallock, meanwhile, had "minor scrapes" to his legs.

New Zealand Water Polo announced all members of its squad, including management, were safe and accounted for, with two athletes suffering minor injuries.

Water Polo Australia said: "Water Polo Australia can confirm that members of the Australian women's water polo team were celebrating their world championship bronze medal win at an establishment in Gwangju, South Korea last night when part of the balcony collapsed. All Australian players are safe and uninjured."

FINA, the world aquatics governing body, said it would "activate all measures" to offer assistance to those involved.

"FINA has been informed that an unfortunate accident occurred in the early hours of July 27, 2019 in a facility next to the athletes' village of the 18th FINA World Championships in Gwangju," a statement read.

"As some championships participants were present at the moment of the accident, FINA is carefully monitoring the situation and will activate all measures to ensure health care and assistance is provided whenever necessary.

"FINA deeply regrets the situation and sends its best wishes to any victims of this accident."

Gwangju is hosting the 18th edition of the championships, which feature swimming, water polo and diving. The final day of competition is on Sunday.

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