Polish javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk auctions Olympic medal to pay for toddler's heart operation

Silver medalist Maria Andrejczyk poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the women's javelin throw at the Tokyo Olympics. Credit: AP

Polish javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk has auctioned off her silver medal from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to help fund urgent heart surgery for an eight-month-old baby boy.

The infant, named Miloszek Malysa, has a heart defect that causes his blood pressure to skyrocket and is in desperate need of a £280,000 surgery in the US.

After discovering a Facebook fundraiser for Miloszek, the 25-year-old athlete decided to step in, saying she wanted to raise £140,000 as the other half of the target had already been met.

Maria Andrejczyk competes in the women's javelin throw final at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Credit: AP

Miloszek's mother, Monika, said there were no viable options to help the infant in their home country, Poland, with their last hope of survival being an operation at Stanford University Medical Center in California.

Looking to drum up financial support for Miloszek, Andrejczyk wrote in a Facebook post published on August 11: "Love, just like our Anto oś, has a serious heart defect, surgery is needed."

"He's the one I'm auctioning off my silver medal of the Olympic Games.

"Together with Mi łoosz's mother and my manager, we were thinking about how efficiently to conduct a collection. Bidding will run here-under this post."

Andrejczyk, who claimed silver at Tokyo 2020 in the women's javelin throw final, added that she would be accepting bids via private message.

Zabka Polska, a Polish grocery store chain, won the action with a bid of $125,000 - later praising Andrejczyk for her “beautiful and extremely noble gesture," adding that she could keep her medal.

In another Facebook post, she praised the convenience store chain for their bid, saying she will be "eternally grateful" to the company.

Andrejczyk was first in qualifying for the final at this year's Olympics but was out-thrown by just under two meters by China's Liu Shiying to claim the silver.

The Polish javelin thrower also just missed out on a medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio Janeiro by only two centimetres.