CRAIG Pickering doesn’t claim to be even a little bit Scottish, but after being forced to miss out on London 2012, the Milton Keynes sprinter admits he is targeting the Glasgow Commonwealth Games as his own slice of a home comfort.
The 25-year-old’s Olympic assault never really got off the ground this year, picking up a back injury in January that forced him to go under the knife in March to remove some disc fragments that were pressing on his nerves.
That put an end to Pickering’s season there and then, and he has been forced to watch from the sidelines as nobody – barring teen sprint sensation Adam Gemili – has set the track alight in the run up to London 2012.
With that in mind, Pickering believes he has missed out on a good chance to strut his stuff in front of a home crowd this summer, as well as the chance to banish his Olympic nightmares after starting his leg of the 4x100m relay too early in Beijing, forcing the British team to be disqualified.
But sitting out London 2012 has only made Pickering hungrier than ever, and although he is eyeing up next year’s World Championships in Moscow as his first big event back in action, it is the Glasgow Commonwealth Games a year later and the chance to make the most of home advantage that makes the time in rehab that little bit easier for the Marshall Milton Keynes AC man.
“Obviously being injured this year is not ideal but I had to have it done and it was just one of those things,” said Pickering.
“It’s even more frustrating that not too many British runners have been doing that well this season and really excelling on the track. That makes me think I’ve missed out on a chance to be at London 2012 some way or another, and that makes it more frustrating.
“Seeing guys like Adam Gemili come through is both good and bad because you are pleased for him, but at the same time you want to remind people of your talents.
“But I don’t tend to worry about things like that and all I can do now is focus on myself. There is life after London 2012 and that’s what I’m focusing on.
“There is a World Championships next year and then the Commonwealth Games after that, and that will be my home Games so to speak and something I’m eager to do.”
Despite missing out on the ‘greatest show on earth’, Pickering has at least had almost half the year to prepare himself for the disappointment. And he admits that could be just the slice of luck he needs as he looks to hit the ground running next year.
“In some ways I’m grateful that my injury happened earlier in the year because it gave me plenty of time to come to terms with missing out on London,” he added.
“If it had happened a lot closer to the Games then it might have felt like I had it taken from my grasp and that would have been devastating.
“But I have had the time to get my mind right and this could be really important in my rehab as I look to get back to my best after injury.”
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