Tokyo Olympics: Maria Andrejczyk auctions medal to fundraise for stranger’s heart surgery

Maria Andrejczyk finished with a silver medal in javelin at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Polish javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk has auctioned off her silver medal from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to raise money for a boy’s heart surgery.

The 25-year-old Andrejczyk finished with a silver medal in the women’s javelin contest at Tokyo 2020, achieving a score of 64.61 points. She placed behind China’s Liu Shiying on 66.34 and in front of Kelsey-Lee Barber of Australia on 64.56, improving on her fourth-place finish at Rio 2016.

Andrejczyk overcame a number of obstacles on her way to this year’s Olympics, recovering from bone cancer following a diagnosis in 2018. After clinching a silver medal, she revealed she wished to put it to good use.

According to her Facebook page, Andrejczyk decided to auction off her medal for the first fundraiser she found. The fundraiser in question is for Polish toddler Miłoszek Małysa, who was diagnosed with a "very serious and rare heart defect." His family are hoping to raise money for life-saving heart surgery at Stanford Hospital in the United States.

The donation page is seeking 1.5million Polish zloty, just over £280,000. Andrejczyk was hoping to raise half that amount by auctioning off her silver medal.

Polish convenience store Zabka won the auction, with their donation and other contributions meaning Andrejczyk soon surpassed her target of £140,000. She confirmed yesterday she had closed the auction so Miłoszek’s family could receive the money as soon as possible.

Maria Andrejczyk auctioned off her javelin silver medal from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to fundraise for a stranger’s heart surgery

Zabka also insisted Andrejczyk keep her silver medal as a result of her "beautiful and extremely noble gesture". Miłoszek’s fundraiser is now just 10 percent away from reaching its target amount.

Andrejczyk burst onto the scene in 2015, earning a gold medal at the European Athletics Junior Championships. She set a Polish record on her way to fourth place at Rio 2016, but her career was then disrupted in the following years by a shoulder injury and her bone cancer diagnosis.

Andrejczyk was back on track in 2019, qualifying for the World Athletics Championships in Doha. Her throw of 71.40m at the European Throwing Cup in May was another Polish record and the third best result in the history of women’s javelin.

She described her Olympic silver medal from Tokyo 2020 as a "symbol of struggle, faith and pursuit of dreams despite many odds."

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