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Ouch! Pro sports photographer gets taken down by shot putter’s erratic throw

This pro sports photographer at the World Indoor Athletics Championships last week definitely got the shot, but clearly not the one he was expecting. In fact, he had a darn lucky escape when an athlete’s heavy metal ball came unexpectedly flying his way.

Competing at the event in Portland, Oregon, American shot putter Kendell Williams launched the shot too far to the left, taking it out of the designated landing zone. The press photographer, identified only as Sean, had no time to get out of the way, and tumbled to the ground as the 8-pound shot came down on his shin.

While the video above shows the throw in slow motion, the one below has it at normal speed. Check out the horrifying thud as the shot slams into the photographer, as well as Williams’ reaction, which seems to be more “Oops!” than “Holy crap I almost killed that guy.”

Clearly, had Williams hurled it a little harder, or Sean been a little nearer, the ending would not have been a happy one.

When Williams threw the shot, the photographer was located outside the protection netting that surrounds the landing zone. But as you can see in the video, he was positioned at the point where the netting begins, leaving himself exposed to erratic throws. After a few seconds, the lucky (or should that be “unlucky”?) photographer clambers to his feet and seems to be OK, though no doubt the resulting bruise was a belter.

“He will dine off that for years,” one of the TV commentators laughed, though no doubt Sean is just happy he’ll be able to dine at all after such a close call.

Related: Celebrated sports photographer Peter Read Miller on the gear that gets the shot

While many sports photographers love to get close to the action, they still have to have their wits about them, with Friday’s incident a scary reminder of how things can so easily go wrong.

As for Sean, if he’s looking for a somewhat safer assignment to cover while his leg heals, perhaps there’s a tiddlywinks contest happening somewhere close by in the coming weeks.