Grindley takes the first step

Click to follow
Student Games


reports from Fukuoka, Japan

David Grindley is one of the best known British athletes competing in the World in Japan. He is also one of the most unlucky.

Grindley has been out of top-class athletics for so long through a recurrent Achilles tendon injury (almost two years), that a lesser athlete may well have been forgotten by the athletics world. But it is hard to forget about someone who has run under 45 seconds eight times for the 400 metres, and who came fifth in the Olympic final at the age of 19.

Now 23, Grindley is beginning the road to recovery at these Games. "I needed something like this to race in after all my training and physiotherapy. Besides, it's good acclimatisation for Atlanta," he said.

His target is next year's Olympics, and he looked very comfortable yesterday in the first two rounds of heats, and ran his fastest time of the year in 46.86sec. However, for a man who holds the British record of 44.47sec, regaining form can be frustrating.

"It was tough to sit back and watch other people claim medals with times slower than I had run, and athletes who I didn't even notice in the past are now beating me. But I can definitely come back, so long as I listen to my body," he said.

Four races in two days is a tough reintroduction to international athletics, and Grindley will have to run 46.00sec to make today's final.

Natalie Tait yesterday claimed Britain's first track medal with a bronze in the 800m. Boxed in at the end of the back straight, she was strong enough to run wide off the final bend and beat Ekaterina Dedkova of Russia to third place, in a time of 2min 04.15sec. Tait was delighted with the bronze, and is aiming to make the British team for the Olympics. Who knows, perhaps she will see David Grindley there...