A SHEFFIELD teenager was left with a fractured cheekbone and broken nose when he was attacked by a gang of up to 15 yobs as he was training for the city's half marathon.
The 16-year-old boy, who takes his GCSEs this summer, was attacked as he ran through the Triangle Estate in Handsworth.
He was training for Sheffield's half marathon, which he hopes to complete in May, when the thugs struck - leaving him needing surgery for facial injuries.
The youngster was on Chestnut Avenue when he ran towards the gang on his training run. They then started chasing him and knocked him to the ground, repeatedly kicking him.
He managed to flee and tried to raise the alarm by knocking on the window of a nearby house, but the gang caught up with him. One of the yobs picked up a flagstone and was about to throw it at him when a man and woman intervened and shouted at them to stop and the thugs ran off.
Their victim's father said: "I think they are nothing but a gang of cowardly yobs. All my son was doing was training for the half marathon when this happened - he had done nothing wrong other than choosing to go out at that particular time.
"He tried to run away from them when they started chasing him and he was looking for places to hide but they caught him up and got him onto the ground where they kicked him all over.
"He managed to get up and knock on the window of a nearby house but one of them picked up a flagstone and was about to throw it at him when a man and woman on the other side of the street saw what was happening and got them to stop.
"I dread to think what might have happened If that flagstone had hit his head he could have ended up dead. He had to have surgery because of this and he can't train now for a number of weeks but he isn't going to let this get him down - he is going to stay positive and still plans to finish the half marathon.
"I want these people caught before they do the same to somebody else - people need to know this gang is walking the streets."
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "Police investigating an assault in the Handsworth area of Sheffield are appealing for information and for witnesses to come forward.
"It's believed a 16-year-old boy has been approached by a large group of youths on Chestnut Avenue and assaulted. As a result of the incident the 16-year-old sustained serious facial injuries. It is believed the group included approximately 15 youths."
Witnesses or anyone with information about the incident at 6.50pm on Thursday January 6 can call South Yorkshire Police on 0114 2202020 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
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