Thursday 14 November 2019

O'Rourke's focus firmly on London

Cliona Foley

DERVAL O'Rourke says the calf injury that forced her last-minute withdrawal from the recent World Championships semi-final has already fully healed and it has not jeopardised her chances in London next summer.

The Olympic Council of Ireland revealed ESB Electric Ireland as one of their sponsors for London 2012 yesterday, and Leevale's world-class sprint hurdler said she will be ready to give her best at what she admitted is her last chance of a coveted Olympic medal.

"London is the last-chance saloon for me," the former world indoor champion and two-time European silver medallist said. "I don't have an issue with that -- I've always seen London as my last Olympics. I won't retire after London, but I see myself doing other things more than running then.

"And, if I run the way I want to run in London, there'll be no need for me to be in Rio in 2016. The Olympics is the one big gaping hole in my athletics CV.

"The last two were a nightmare for me. I had appendicitis in Athens and bronchitis in Beijing, so this is my last chance and I won't do anything to jeopardise that."


After being narrowly pipped for gold in last year's Europeans and finishing fourth in the previous World Championships, she had high hopes travelling to Daegu last month. However, after cruising through her heat, she had to pull out of her semi-final just before the athletes went out on to the track.

O'Rourke revealed yesterday that she immediately got a shuttle bus back to the athletes' village and watched the subsequent final "crying, on the couch, in my pyjamas".

But she confirmed that her calf injury had recovered within a couple of days and there has been no need even to have a scan of it since.

"My calves were both a little tight after my heat, but I'd had a massage and there were no problems," O'Rourke said.

"I was fine in the warm-up until we started doing sprints. However, by the time we got to sprinting at 90pc, my right calf was so tight I just couldn't push off.

"I could have asked the doctor to inject it and numb it, yet if it was numb and I'd done something bad to it during the race I wouldn't have felt it," she continued.

"However, there was no way Sean (Cahill, her coach) was going to let me do that 10 months out from the Olympics.

"I did feel confident I could have made the final but, looking back now, I don't think there was any way I'd have got from the blocks to the finish line without tearing my calf."

O'Rourke had planned to race in Brussels the following week and in the subsequent Diamond League final but cancelled all those plans, took a complete rest and a holiday in the last three weeks and is now ready to resume training, with a full indoor season already in her plans for next year.

However, she has ruled out racing in the European Championships next summer, which is so close to the Olympics, preferring to focus all her energies on that elusive Olympic medal.

"I start back training next Monday after taking three weeks off and, thankfully, my only problem now is that I drank a bit of wine and ate a lot of chips and put on two kilos," she laughed.

"But outside of that, I'm ready to roll."

Irish Independent

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