Athletics: Operation ends Elliott's world hopes: Commonwealth 1500 metres champion faces long lay-off after tendon surgery

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The Independent Online
relieve the Achilles tendon injury which has prevented him racing since May last year, writes Mike Rowbottom.

Elliott, the reigning Commonwealth 1500 metres champion whose career has been blighted by injury, was told by a specialist on Tuesday that an operation would be the best way of alleviating the pain which has long hampered his training.

The 30-year-old Elliott has become an expert at putting a brave face on things over the last 10 years, and he was characteristically positive yesterday.

'It is not an operation on the tendon itself, but the inflamed tissues around it,' he said. 'A colleague had the same operation and he was back in training within five weeks. I see the operation as light at the end of the tunnel. If the specialist hadn't recommended it, I would have retired.

'I have always said that I would quit if I stopped enjoying the sport. I have been training nearly every day for the last 13 months and I have never been able to run without pain. The one thing I am aiming for is to be able to have a run injury-free. I have forgotten what it's like. It is very frustrating. It is the same injury I had before the 1991 World Championships, but I am not going to rush back.'

His coach, Kim McDonald, said that there was a chance Elliott might be fit to race again by the end of the summer, but he accepted that it would be too much to expect for him to be fit for the World Championships. 'There is no point in putting him under that kind of pressure,' he said.

Liz McColgan, whom McDonald also coaches, is receiving intensive treatment on the hamstring injury which kept her out of last weekend's European Cup, and was training twice a day. 'There is no question of her being unfit for the World Championships,' he said.

The British Athletic Federation yesterday emphasised its policy that no athlete would be able to double up in distances at the World Championships - something Curtis Robb, for one, had contemplated doing at 800 and 1500m.

Linford Christie and John Regis will face each other over 100 and 200m at the TSB Challenge in Edinburgh tomorrow.