Athletics: Gardener to undergo surgery for back pain

Jason Gardener is determined to return to compete for a fourth successive European indoor 60 metres title after preparing to undergo a back operation. The 30-year-old Olympic 4x100m champion is seeing a specialist today and expects early treatment which will see him in plaster for around two months.

Gardener's recent career has been marred by the back problem and earlier this year scuppered his hopes of challenging for the Commonwealth Games 100m title. The "Bath Bullet", one of only three Britons ever to break 10 seconds for the distance, then saw his hopes of qualifying for next month's European Championships wrecked.

Gardener withdrew following his first-round heat at last weekend's trials in Manchester, again suffering the effects of the injury and will now undergo a bone graft on his hip to alleviate the back pains.

"My back is simply not getting better - every time I feel I have made progress it seems to flare up again," he said. "It is a wise thing for me to do, and I'm sure it will set me up for the indoor season. The only diagnosis is rest. I plan to come back fighting fit for winter training and the indoor circuit."

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