Former FIM Speedway World Cup star Andrey Kudriashov has been forced to retire from the sport as he fights to save his left leg.

The former Russian international, who won bronze with his country in the 2017 FIM SWC, has been battling an aggressive form of skin cancer, which initially emerged below his left knee.

Despite the tumour being removed in November 2021, followed by the lymph nodes in his groin in February 2022, Kudriashov remained in pain and underwent radiotherapy in April and May.

But the cancer returned as the summer progressed and doctors have told Kudriashov, who has a four-month-old daughter, that he can no longer race.

Now he faces a battle to avoid having his left leg amputated to prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of his body.

The 31-year-old told Sportowefakty.pl: “The doctors told me that there was no chance that I would be able to return to professional sports. My situation is very serious. For this reason, I decided to start selling my equipment and I hope that it will somehow help my family survive the coming months. Now the priority is to fight for recovery. Unfortunately, riding speedway is a thing of the past.

“Some time ago, doctors diagnosed me with skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma to be precise. Until recently, the situation seemed to be under control, but at the end of December I heard words that still sound in my head like a sentence – amputation.

“Doctors already wanted to amputate the left leg, because in their opinion it is the easiest way to get rid of the cancer and avoid metastasis to the whole body. For now, however, I want to fight, and I have decided to try other treatments that give me a chance to keep my leg. But I already know that I have a very long fight ahead of me.”

Kudriashov lives in Poland, holding Polish citizenship. But due tightening visa restrictions imposed since the war in Ukraine began, his Russian family is currently unable to come to his aid at this most difficult of times.

“It is hard,” he said. “I practically can't walk. I only walk on crutches. My wife takes care of our daughter, who was born four months ago, and me.

“We cannot count on help from the family because they are Russians, and our relatives have no chance to obtain a visa for Poland.

"I even arranged special documents from the hospital for my sister, who is a nurse, to come and help me in my daily functioning and support me in the fight against the disease.

“The Polish Embassy in Russia did not agree to make an exception for her, so my family can't come and help me in the most difficult moment in my life.

“We only have contact by phone. It really is difficult. In the hospital, I even asked for help from a psychologist. I don't wish what I've been through in the last few weeks on anyone. It's impossible to describe what I feel.”

Friends of Kudriashov have started a collection that has already raised over 50,000 PLN to support him and his family as he fights to overcome the disease.

While he was able to do some work away from the track last year, his health battles have now left him unable to earn, while his wife remains on maternity leave. Kudriashov added: “The financial situation is bad because I was counting on racing and maintained everything to be prepared for the season. My wife is currently on maternity leave.

“Now I am concentrating on fighting the disease and I am unable to take up any employment. I'm sitting at home waiting for the doctor's decision. This upsets me even more.

“The family needs my help; I have to support them, and I can hardly move and take strong painkillers. I can't help my wife as much as I'd like, or even go out for a walk with my daughter. I got sick at the worst time.”

Everyone in FIM Speedway family wishes Andrey a full and speedy recovery. Stay strong!