Athletics

Inside Track: Mark English patient despite injury blow

Mark English will miss the World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon  
Malcolm McCausland

IRISH Olympic medal hopeful Mark English has played down the injury that will keep him out of action for at least six weeks.

English was speaking during a visit to his old school, St Eunan’s, Letterkenny, as part of the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme, where he was joined by Donegal footballer Christy Toye. English was due to compete in the World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon last month, but an accident before the event saw him withdraw at the last minute. Unfortunately, what was thought to be a twisted ankle from stepping in a pothole was subsequently found to be also a fracture of a metatarsal.

“It was disappointing not to be able to go, particularly having beaten Eric Sowinski, who came third, all year,” said English.

“But if I had to miss one championships this year, it would have been the world indoors because everyone remembers the Olympics, but only a few remember Marcus O’Sullivan winning a world indoor title.”

The UCD student is currently coached by Steve Magness, the head cross-country coach at the University of Houston. English is still in a protective boot, but is doing rehab by aqua jogging. This will continue for a number of weeks before he progresses to an anti-gravity treadmill at the Irish Institute of Sport in Blanchardstown.

English admits the injury has been a setback, but remains optimistic about being on the start line in Rio: “It’s definitely hampered my ability to get some aerobic base training done,” he said.

“But I also like to think I have a high baseline level of fitness. My coach has told me that a good few times. I’ll be able to get back to fitness relatively quickly on account of the aqua jogging I have been doing.”

English hopes to return to racing in June, which might be a bit ambitious. Even more alarming is that the Olympics are less than four months away and Ireland’s best medal hope in terms of athletics is hobbling around in a protective boot.

Despite this, English remains very upbeat: “The Olympics is going to be the biggest race of my life and it’s the biggest sporting event of 2016,” he said.

“And I have to make sure that I do all the preparation I can to ensure that I go out there and give my best performance. I always say that I want to look back on New Year’s Eve of 2016 and say that I have no regrets about how it went and that is my real aim for this year.”

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