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Killeen targets Rio
MALVERN mountain biker Liam Killeen is already targeting the Rio Olympics in 2016 as he recovers from the heartbreaking crash that brought his home Games to a premature and painful end.
Killeen was riding well when a puncture saw him fall on a steep section of boulders on the second lap of his race at Hadleigh Farm on the final day of London 2012.
The devastated star was rushed to hospital where he underwent surgery on a badly broken leg and ankle and is unlikely to race again this year.
But, speaking from his hospital bed, the 30-year-old vowed not to dwell on the disappointment, instead looking forward to defending his Commonwealth Games title in two years time and a fourth shot at Olympic glory in Brazil.
“I was really disappointed with the way it ended,” he said. “I had felt good on the course during the week and I felt I was in the best shape of my career.
“It was a fast race, but looking at my training times I am confident that I would have managed a top-10 finish. Maybe not quite a medal but I feel I would have done myself proud.”
Killeen also crashed at his two previous Olympics, Athens in 2004 and Beijing four years ago, but both times recovered to post top-10 finishes.
“It seems to always happen to me every four years unfortunately,” he admitted. “But hopefully this won’t be my last Olympics. There’s definitely another opportunity in Rio.”
Killeen says he has been overwhelmed by messages of support since his Olympic heartbreak and is looking forward to returning to Malvern to continue his recuperation.
“Since the accident I have had so many messages of support, and that has really given me a huge boost and made me all the more determined to get back on my bike and show what I can do.
“It was quite a complicated procedure and I have had to have a bone graft done and a lot of metalwork put in my foot but the surgeon was pleased with how it went and my recovery has started well.”
Despite the unfortunate ending, Killeen will take away many positive memories of representing Great Britain at a home Olympics.
“I went to the Olympic Village when I first arrived at the Games and it gave me a huge buzz just walking around with all of the athletes,” he said.
“There was a great sense of what GB had been achieving all the way through the Games and it was a great feeling to be part of that.”