Olympics: Kelly Holmes backs Hannah England to beat her injury
Double Olympic champion Kelly Holmes insists her protege Hannah England can follow in her footsteps and defy an untimely injury to perform well at the London Games.
England, a surprise silver medallist in the World Championships last year, trailed in last in her first race since 27 May in the 1,500 metres at the Aviva London Grand Prix on Friday.
The 25-year-old suffered a spiked Achilles while winning her previous race in the Netherlands, prompting five days in hospital and being banned from standing for more than three minutes at a time for two weeks. It was therefore no surprise that England faded badly in the final 300m at Crystal Palace to clock a time of four minutes 14.45 seconds, but Holmes knows from her own experience that all is not lost.
“What I am telling her at the moment is that she still has time,” said Holmes, who won gold in the 800m and 1,500m in Athens in 2004. “Two occasions before the Olympic Games things have gone horribly wrong for me. In 1996 I found out I had a stress fracture in Tallahassee two weeks before Atlanta, still ran it and came fourth. But on that occasion I was fit, had done the training and believed I could do it.
“The one that is the most comparable is Sydney in 2000 when I tore my calf in January and had only six weeks’ track work that year and I came back with a bronze medal and might have had gold if I hadn’t looked up at the screen and thought ‘Oh my God I’m in front’.
“Friday’s race was the first step back for her. Racing’s what she needs. It’s not a worry that she only ran 4:14 because it was the way the race was run, the pace at 800m. She may have felt there was nothing left in the last 300m but that is because she hasn’t done the speed endurance stuff recently.”
Twelve women have run under four minutes for the 1,500m in 2012, but Holmes does not feel times will count for anything when the Olympics comes around. “Every single year you always see some amazing times just before the championships in trials and one-off races. But the Olympics and championships are different,” she added.
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