Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Eamon Sullivan to consult Shane Watson

Former world record-holder Eamon Sullivan will look to another injury-prone champion, cricketer Shane Watson, for guidance as his latest physical setback threatens to prevent him from competing at this year's Commonwealth Games.

Exactly one year after he underwent surgery to correct a tear in his left hip, Sullivan went under the knife again yesterday, after tearing the labrum in his right hip in training last week.

The Olympic 100m freestyle silver medallist's over all surgery tally is now approaching double figures. His last major championship was the Beijing Olympics, already 18 months ago. If he misses the Commonwealth Games, having already lost last year's world championships, he would have been out of world competition for more than two years.

Sullivan, 24, has proved to be physically fragile and makes Watson look structurally sound, but they have many common experiences and the sprinter said he intended to meet with the cricketer in the hope of learning something that would help him bounce back from his current run of setbacks.

Watson has been Australia's stand-out batsman this summer after overcoming the physical frailties that threatened to ruin his career.

"I plan to catch up with him in the next couple of weeks," Sullivan said.

"He's probably had it worse than me because he's missed more major events and I want to see if there's anything he did that might be able to help me."

Sullivan is a resilient character but he admitted this setback had hit him harder than most and he was looking for new inspiration to get through his recovery.

"I would be lying if I said it wasn't the most I have struggled, after having had no international competition for the last year and a lot of injuries," Sullivan said. "But I try to keep my spirits high and I am trying to get myself healthy in time for the London Olympics. That's my top priority."

Sullivan has vowed not to rush his recovery this year, as he did last year in order to qualify for the Rome world titles. He returned in time to win the 100m freestyle at last year's trials but the stress of the effort eventually undermined his health and he was forced out of the world titles by illness.

Then in November he needed an emergency appendectomy during a training camp in Arizona, which was followed by another setback last month when he sustained an abdominal muscle tear where his surgical wound had healed.

Sullivan and his coach Grant Stoelwinder have agreed they will take his recovery slowly this time, even if it costs him the two major championships this year -- the Pan Pacific championships in August and the Commonwealth Games in October.

"I am planning to swim at the trials but I don't know if I will be ready and I won't risk getting myself injured or sick again," he said.

"I pushed myself way too hard, too early last year and compromised my whole year. My New Year's resolution is to know what I can and know what I can't do in the training pool."


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