Monday 22 January 2018

Gillick plays down knee 'niggle' as Gay's double Olympic dream dies

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

DAVID Gillick has played down fears of a knee injury which were immediately raised when he pulled out of the Madrid Grand Prix at the weekend.

Coming just a week after he set a brilliant new Irish 400m record of 45.12 seconds, and just over a month away from the Olympics, Gillick's withdrawal immediately sparked worries about the DSD star's fitness.

But Ireland's two-time European Indoor champion insisted his last-minute withdrawal, after travelling to Spain, was precautionary.

"It's nothing to worry about, I wouldn't describe it as an injury," Gillick said from his base in Loughborough yesterday. "I felt a slight niggle in my right knee during the week, possibly some tendonitis, and I felt it again in the warm-up before the race and just decided not to chance making it any worse.

"After running so well last week I really didn't want to risk a setback, especially as I have some big races coming up."

Gillick said he would be back at the Rome GP next Friday, then the Irish National Championships a week later.

Derval O'Rourke was third in the 100m hurdles at the Atletismo meet in 13.18 (into a 2.6ms headwind), won by in-form Spaniard Josephine Onyia in 12.94. Ireland's Paul McKee (46.55) and Thomas Chamney (1:50.73) also competed in the 400m and 800m respectively in Madrid.

Elsewhere, Tyson Gay's bid to match his world championship sprint double at the Olympics ended when he was stretchered off the track at the US Trials after falling in the 200m heats. Failure to finish in the top three means he cannot run the 200m in Beijing, and there are worries the 'cramp' he suffered mid-race may jeopardise his 100m chances. He ran a wind-assisted 9.68 seconds in the same trials last week, the fastest 100m time ever.

Gay's agent, Mark Wetmore, later described the problem as "severe cramp". His personal physio, Benny Vaughn, added that the medical team would keep the problem under observation for 48 hours, but that it was likely he could still run the 100m and sprint relay at the Olympics.

The news will have been noted with interest by the man who finished second to Gay in last year's world 200m final, Usain Bolt. The 21-year-old Jamaican, who set a world 100m record of 9.72sec last month, has still to announce whether he will double up in Beijing or concentrate on his original target of winning the longer sprint -- a target that now looks even more attainable.

Allen Johnson, the 1996 Olympic 110m hurdles champion, missed his chance of going to Beijing when he dropped out midway through his opening heat because of a tendon injury.

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