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Moroccan Sarah Ben Mansour may not ski at Torino due to knee injury

Moroccan Sarah Ben Mansour may not ski at Torino due to knee injury{mosimage}BRUSSELS, Belgium – Sarah Ben Mansour’s chance to become Africa’s first female alpine skier at the Olympics has been put into jeopardy because the Moroccan will need an operation on an injured knee later in the week, her team leader said Monday.

Doctors estimate the 18-year-old has a 50 percent chance to make it to the Winter Games in Torino after she injured her anterior cruciate ligament during a race in Courchevel, France, last month, Derek Giroulle said.

The Belgian-born skier will have arthroscopic surgery on Thursday and will need five more days of full rest before she can resume exercise. She will test her left knee in minor races in Italy early next month before making a decision on taking part in the giant slalom on Feb 21.

”I still hope the doctors can get me back on my feet for the Games, and I’m very motivated to work hard with the medical team for a speedy recovery,” she said in a statement. ”If it doesn’t work I know that I was working very hard for the Games, this is just a piece of bad luck, and especially bad timing, but it’s the risk of being in this sport.”

The daughter of a Moroccan mother and Belgian father, Ben Mansour was born outside Antwerp but always held Moroccan nationality and the family name of her mother. The International Skiing Federation has said it knew of no other African women who competed in alpine events at the Olympics.

– The Associated Press

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