O'Rourke injury not as bad as feared
DERVAL O'Rourke's back injury should not stop her going to the London Olympics, but it has left her facing a race against time to be fully race-sharp.
Serious fears about the Leevale star's Olympic participation were raised when the golden girl of Irish athletics had to pull out of the national championships last Sunday with a sudden back spasm.
Her coach Sean Cahill was more upbeat yesterday but admitted that it was still a "wait-and-see situation" and will cost her some valuable competition experience ahead of the Games.
O'Rourke had planned to race in France tonight and was expected to get in several more sharpening races in the coming weeks.
But she needed two hours of physiotherapy and acupuncture, yesterday and it remains to be seen when she can return to training.
"It's not as bad as we first feared, she already had more mobility today," Cahill said. "The good thing is that the medical people are convinced it is neurological and not muscular and will therefore respond quickly to treatment.
"But the real test now is how long it will be before she is back running and sprinting full out on it."
The Olympics is the only major athletics event at which O'Rourke has not won a medal and she has long targeted London as her last chance of an Olympic prize.
Elsewhere, a particularly talented bunch of young Irish athletes, including O'Rourke's natural successor in hurdles -- Limerick's Sara Lavin -- will take part in the World Junior Championships in Barcelona this week.
They include West Waterford's Kate Veale, the world youth champion walker who is in action tomorrow, and talented Donegal teenager Mark English, who ran the fifth-fastest 800m time by an Irishman (1:45.77) this year.
The first of them in action today include brilliant young DSD runner Siofra Cleirigh-Buttner (800m heats), Letterkenny's Ruairi Finnegan and Clonmel's Sean Tobin (1500m heats), Finn Valley race-walker Sarah Collins and Raheny's Kevin Dooney (10,000m final).
Meanwhile, Usain Bolt, the triple Olympic champion, has made a complete recovery from the muscle tightness that hampered him at the Jamaican Olympic trials and is now training normally and "good to go" to defend his titles in London, his agent said last night.