Dominic Thiem participates in charity run for spinal cord research

  • Dominic Thiem took part in the Wings for Life World Run to raise funds for spinal cord research.
  • Thiem was joined by athletes like Lindsey Vonn and Marcel Hirscher to aid in the good cause.
Shruti Sinha
Modified 07 May 2020, 00:39 IST

Dominic Thiem
Dominic Thiem

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic might have brought the world to a standstill, but it hasn't dimmed the human spirit. And that was perfectly demonstrated as 77,103 people from 104 countries took part in the seventh edition of the Wings for Life World Run - with 2020 Australian Open runner-up Dominic Thiem being one of them.

Wings For Life World Run is an annual global charity event supported by energy drink giant Red Bull for the non-profit foundation Wings for Life, which is dedicated to finding a cure for spinal cord injury. With lock-down being imposed in most countries and social distancing becoming a priority, this year witnessed the first-ever virtual race.

Through the Wings for Life World Run App, people united around the world on Sunday, 3 May, to raise €2.8 million for this very special cause. In a one-of-its-kind race, all the participants began running at 11:00am UTC, wherever in the world they were, thus adhering to the restriction rules in their respective countries.

Dominic Thiem
Dominic Thiem

World No. 3 Thiem, who endorses Red Bull, was one of the biggest athletes to lend a hand to the cause - with ski legends Lindsey Vonn and Marcel Hirscher being two of the others. The Austrian tennis player, currently at home in Vienna, ran with wheelchair tennis athlete and compatriot Nico Langmann.

The two-time French Open runner-up was able to run 11.4km, raising €120 for the research.

“The Wings for Life World Run is a great thing and it’s for a great cause, because I really hope – and I’m pretty sure – that one day they will be able to heal spinal cord injury. That would be sensational and for sure a big day in history,” said Dominic Thiem.

Dominic Thiem shows his philanthropic side days after criticism over insensitive remarks

A few days ago the Austrian was severely criticized for his refusal to donate to a player relief fund set up by Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The sport's biggest stars joined hands and appealed to the top 100 players to contribute and help the lower-ranked players tide over the crisis, but the Austrian wasn't convinced.

Dominic Thiem initially said he was wary of helping "unprofessional" players, and that he had no intention of giving them his money. After the tennis star was censured on social media for his supposed lack of generosity, Thiem made an attempt to justify his comments.

Dominic Thiem (right) with Novak Djokovic after the 2020 Australian Open final
Dominic Thiem (right) with Novak Djokovic after the 2020 Australian Open final

The 26-year-old explained that he would love to have the option of choosing which player to support, as he believes not every lower-rung professional needs it. Elaborating further, he made it clear that he would like to donate his money wisely, to causes which would benefit more.

Dominic Thiem, who had a career-best season last year, could not defend his title at Indian Wells Masters, which got cancelled in March as the virus outbreak began. He has since been at home, spending time with his family, working out and improving his FIFA football skills.

Published 07 May 2020, 00:39 IST
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