London 2012 Olympics: Injury problems dash medal hopes of three Team GB athletes in one day
IT WAS old crocks’ morning in the Olympic Stadium yesterday. An almost nostalgic reminder of the bad old days when whole meetings seemed to consist of British athletes struggling to shake off injury and failing to do themselves justice.
Of the four Team GB competitors who came into these Games with serious fitness worries, three were in action in the session – and all three came to grief. First there was Andrew Pozzi, more of a young crock at only 20, who could clear only one flight in his heat of the 110 metre hurdles before pulling up because of the hamstring damage he has been battling against for a month. The only consolation for the young Bristolian is that at least he lasted longer than the 2004 champion Liu Xiang of China, who hit his first hurdle and promptly fell to the deck. Then there was javelin-thrower Goldie Sayers, who had been nursing an elbow injury. The 30-year-old broke her own national record in the London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace last month, but also tore an elbow ligament later at that meeting. She aggravated the injury in the warm-up yesterday, and had three no-throws.
“I’m sure people have criticised me for competing injured,” Sayers said. “I did one throwing session a few days ago and that went well. But I caught a nerve in warm-up and couldn’t feel my hand.
“The irony is in 15 years I have never once hurt my elbow. I’m devastated, but I had to give it a go and I couldn’t not compete in a home Olympics. I felt fantastic but my elbow just let me down. I know I can throw 70 metres and I will carry on to Rio. It’s just gutting not to be in the final in front of a home crowd. Hopefully I can do the country proud in Rio.”
Thirdly, there was Phillips Idowu, who if fully fit would be one of Britain’s principal contenders for medals. The 33-year-old former world champion and silver medallist from Beijing courted controversy by refusing to turn up for his team’s training camp in Portugal, and there were conflicting reports about his physical readiness after he damaged a knee some months ago.
Yesterday, Idowu needed to clear 17.10 metres to reach the triple jump final – a distance he could normally do without breaking sweat. But his inability to train properly appeared to have undermined his strength, and his best jump was just 16.53 metres.
“It’s not good,” he accepted. “I was supposed to come out here and qualify, and I didn’t. I was pain-free, which I was grateful about. I’ve struggled with some nervy pains and haven’t been 100 per cent. I always think if I could come here and be pain-free then I should be able to replicate what I’ve done in previous years.
“I think the lack of competition just didn’t help with my timing and I wasn’t able to put it together. Those sort of distances I can generally jump off eight strides, but I couldn’t do it today. It’s not completely sunk in yet. All I know is that it wasn’t a great competition, so that was that. I have to regroup and prepare for the future. I haven’t finished competing, I don’t think you’ve seen the best of me yet.”
Idowu might not find too many people prepared to agree with that last sentiment, but he is at least prepared to put it to the test by competing next season. “Regardless of my achievements at these Games, I was never going to finish this year,” he added.
There had been better news on Monday morning for the fourth member of the crocked quartet, Hannah England, who made it safely through to the semi-finals of the 1,500 metres along with team-mates Lise Dobriskey and Laura Weightman.
In addition, Jo Pavey and Julia Bleasdale both qualified for Friday’s 5,000 metres final, and Christian Malcolm made it safely through the first round of the 200 metres. Oh, and Usain Bolt did that too. Somehow, you always thought he would.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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