Olympics now the focus as Gillick's season over
Published 27/07/2011 | 05:00
IRELAND's double European indoor 400m champion David Gillick has dramatically called a halt to his season and revealed that he is returning from America to train with his old coach Nick Dakin in Loughborough.
Gillick was sixth in the World Championships two years ago and was bitterly disappointed to only finish fifth in the European 400m final last summer.
He hoped to further his form ahead of the London Olympics by moving to Florida last winter to work with Tyson Gay's coach Lance Brauman in a training group that already included Irish Paralympian Jason Smyth.
But the Dundrum South Dublin star lost nearly two months' training to a torn calf muscle and he has struggled this summer, coming nowhere close to the world-class sub-45 second form that he has consistently produced over the last two years.
Gillick confirmed yesterday that he is taking the rest of the season off on medical advice, which puts him out of next month's World Championships in South Korea.
"Obviously I am very disappointed to have to sit the season out," Gillick said.
"I have invested a lot of time and effort in attempting to make this a successful year, but unfortunately tearing my calf muscle and the subsequent problems have put me way behind where I want to be."
Gillick has also decided to change his training base and return to Britain to work with again with Dakin, who had previously trained him for four seasons.
Gillick returned to Loughborough a couple of weeks ago to undertake medical tests and will be based there again as his focus turns to London 2012.
"Moving to America was a massive learning curve and it was an opportunity that I am glad that I pursued," Gillick said. "The aim now, however, is to recover and to return to 100pc fitness. I will have a great team around me and with their support I truly believe that I can perform at the highest level again on the world stage."
Gillick's first major honour came when he won the European Indoor 400m title in 2005. He repeated this success in 2007, but his attempt to win the World Indoor title last year ended in heartbreak when he finished fifth and was subsequently disqualified for barging. That was followed by disappointment in the European final in Barcelona.
Another top Irish sprinter, Leevale's Irish 100m record holder Ailis McSweeney, has also announced that an Achilles injury is forcing her to withdraw for the reminder of the track season to concentrate on making a full recovery in time for London 2012.