Belgian PM Suffers Hearing Loss After Getting Too Close to Starting Gun at Running Race

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By Kieran Corcoran | 5:13 am, May 30, 2017

The Prime Minister of Belgium is being treated for hearing loss after standing too close to the starting pistol at a race this weekend.

Charles Michel – who met President Trump in Brussels last week (pictured) – cancelled official engagements Tuesday for emergency medical treatment.

Michel was one a several dignitaries at the starting ceremony of the annual Brussels 20km race through the Belgian capital.

He stood next to Belgium’s Princess Astrid, who fired the starting gun for the race on Saturday.

Photographs of the moment show him wincing in pain as the firearm discharged just inches from his left ear.

Many initially laughed the episode off – but it later became clear that Michel could have been seriously hurt.

According to Belgium’s VRT Nieuws broadcast network, Michel cancelled a scheduled appearance in the Belgian parliament on Tuesday.

A spokesman told the network: “The Prime Minister has to have a number of medical treatments in the 48 hours after the incident”.

His injury came just days after his first meeting with President Donald Trump.

Michel met the President as he arrived on Air Force One last Wednesday ahead of his first NATO meeting.

The two shook hands and spoke, while Trump also had an audience with Belgium’s king.

Relations turned frostier the following day, when Michel was among the 23 leaders of NATO member states called out by the President for spending too little on their defense.