Rome: An Italian athlete of Nigerian origin sustained an injury to her left eye on Monday after unknown assailants threw eggs at her from a car in what police were investigating as a possible racially-motivated attack.
Daisy Osakue, 22, an under 23 discus thrower, needed surgery to treat a corneal abrasion and remove a fragment of eggshell that lodged in her eye during the attack, which happened Sunday evening as she was walking to her house in Turin, Efe reported.
“They did it on purpose. They didn’t want to hit me because I’m Daisy, they wanted to hit me because I am a black girl,” Osakue said.
She added that the zone she had been walking through was a popular red light district and that she could have been mistaken for a sex worker.
“I cannot rule out a racial motivation,” she continued. “I do not want to be criticized for this but I think they threw that egg in my face from a car traveling at speed because I am a person of color.”
Italian media said police were also treating the assault as a suspected act of racial violence.
Osakue is billed to join the Italian team at the upcoming European Athletics Championships in Germany and she was adamant she would compete in Berlin on Thursday.
News of the attack prompted an outpouring of anger on social media.
The rising sports star was born in Turin to Nigerian parents who moved to Italy 24 years ago.
Human rights groups have warned about the risk of an upsurge in racial violence in Italy since the rise of the far-right in the most recent elections.