ROME: Black Italian athlete Daisy Osakue suffered eye injuries on Sunday night after she was hit by an egg in a drive-by attack she said was ‘racially’ motivated.

The incident comes amid an increase in reports of racially-motivated attacks in Italy as the new populist government — and in particular far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini — push immigration to the forefront of the political agenda.

The 22-year old discus thrower, who was born in Italy to Nigerian parents, was on her way home in the town of Moncalieri, near Turin in the country’s north when a car sped towards her and she felt “a very strong blow to the eye.”

“I fell to the ground and I felt liquid, I was terrified thinking it might be acid,” said Osakue in interviews with different Italian media outlets.

The athlete, who is due to compete in the European Championships starting next week in Berlin, was taken to a hospital in Turin and emerged on Monday sporting a bandage over her left eye.

“I’m OK,” she said. “Unfortunately, I have an abrasion and some lesions on my cornea and liquid on my retina, but with rest, drops and cortisone I should be fine.

“This will not stop me participating [in the championships],” said Osakue, who holds the Italian under-23 discus record.

Asked whether the attack was racially motivated Osakue said: “I don’t like to use the racism card, but in this case, it is... I believe they were looking for a person of colour, a woman.”

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2018