James Ellington taking legal action against Nigel Levine for 2017 motorbike accident

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James Ellington ahead of his comeback race at the London Diamond League. Photo: Matthew Quine

A new twist in the comeback of former British international James Ellington has seen him take legal action against his Olympic team-mate Nigel Levine over a motorbike crash in early 2017 that left Ellington out of action until 2019.

Levine was driving the motorcycle with both athletes on during a training camp in Tenerife before a collision with a car left Ellington with multiple broken bones in his legs, fractures to his eye socket, pelvis and ankle while he also lost six pints of blood.

The accident saw his career and indeed his life placed on a knife-edge, with Ellington saying at the time “I truly am blessed as I do not know how me or my training partner Nigel are still alive.”

Until this point, the Newham and Essex Beagles sprinter had had a promising career, regularly featuring in the GB 4x100m relay team and also picking up Commonwealth silver and two European golds.

The European medallist did make a remarkable return to the track this year, running 10.93 for 100m at the London Anniversary Games. However, his current situation, being far behind his 2016 standard with no sponsorship or funding, has led him to file a personal injury case against both his team-mate Nigel Levine and the driver of the car that the pair collided with back in January 2017.

“It’s been almost three years now since the crash and the road to recovery is proving to be long and painful,” said Ellington. “However, my intentions are clear: I want to return to the world of professional sprinting and will do whatever I can to make that happen.”

While not as extensive, Levine himself also suffered serious injuries during the crash, needing surgery to stabilise his pelvis.

Since his return in late 2017 however, he has been on a four-year drugs ban for using the asthma drug clenbuterol, which he claimed were discovered due to contaminated substances.

However, on top of his ban, the former GB sprinter now faces an unexpected legal fight against his former team-mate, with Ellington’s Lawyer Demetrius Danas, of Irwin Mitchell describing how the case has escalated.

“We have tried to settle the case amicably with those involved in the crash,” he said “but we have now been left with no choice but to begin legal action at court against all vehicles involved in the accident

“James is now running again and has big ambitions for the future but he is still in the process of recovering from life-threatening injuries. As his funding has come to an end, currently he is unable to access the rehabilitation and support which he needs to once again sprint at a world-class level.”