Unfortunately due to injury I have had to pull out of the heptathlon at the Commonwealth Games. The foot injury which I picked up in Cairns a couple of weeks ago came back to haunt me yesterday on the track in Delhi.
After being confident that all was ok with my foot after receiving a clear MRI scan in Hong Kong and the medical team managing the pain prior to the competition I started the competition confident and ready to rock.
However, I felt it slightly in my first event, the 100m hurdles, where I ran 14.18 to win my heat. It was slower than I had hoped, but with 6 events to go I wasn't too worried knowing I could catch up points.
For the next event, high jump, the foot the foot was worse and I didn't do any warm up jumps to reduce the amount of impact. I missed the first attempt at my starting height of 1.54 and was thinking oh no this is going to be bad! Luckily one of the NZ docs arrived in time to give me some more pain relief in the middle of the comp and I went on to clear 1.69 and narrowly missed 1.72 (which would have been a personal best, my best being 1.71 from Beijing). 1.69 is my second best ever high in a heptathlon so I was stoked, especially given the foot pain and lack of warm up!
Next event was the shot put, an event which was less stressful on the foot. I had a good comp throwing 14.64, a personal best in a heptathlon and dominating the field, throwing almost 1.5m further than the next best girl. This propelled me back into medal contention and I was sitting 4th after 3 events, with my strong events to come: 200m, javelin and 800m. Needless to say I was fired up and excited going into the 200m, ready to claw back some more points and finish a solid 1st day. Brent Newdick, the kiwi decathlete, and Nikki Hamblin, my room mate and 1500m runner, both won silver medals just minutes before the 200m, giving me extra inspiration!
Unfortunately this is where things came really unstuck with the foot, after about 50m it got really, really sore and I pulled up, unable to finish and had to be carried off the track in a stretcher....not a way any athlete wants to leave the stadium at a Commonwealth Games. As I did not finish the race there was no way I could continue the competition.
This morning I had an x-ray in the village and it turns out in the 200m I broke the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal bones in my foot. The medical staff are not sure how this relates to the pain I had before hand...a puzzle to be solved once we get back to NZ and do some more investigations. For now I am cruising around the village on bloody crutches! On the bright side the breaks are in a place which heals quickly.
I am devastated, especially given that I was back up near the medals after the shot and confident of staying in the mix on day 2. The fact that I had had such a great build up to the Games and was in such fantastic shape makes it even harder to cope with. This was probably my last chance at a Commonwealth Games medal, to come so close and leave like this is a bit of a nightmare to say the least, but as a friend of mine said "Sport can be extremely brutal sometimes, when you have done everything right sometimes it still kicks you in the teeth."
I feel especially for my coach Andrew, who has been through the entire journey with me, putting in all the hours at training with me, to finish like this is as devastating for him as it is for me. But he has a saying "whilst I breathe, I hope" and I am still breathing!
A huge thanks goes to the medical staff who helped to get me as far as I did - Vanessa, Liesel, Helen, Lynn, Andrea and John thank you for your time and outstanding care.
To all the people who helped me with sponsorship, family, friends, people who bought and sold chocolate for me...the list goes on...I couldn't deliver this time, but your support has been so outstanding and I couldn't have made it this far without you, so thank you.
To mum and dad who came all the way to Delhi to cheer me on, I can't thank you enough, it was so great seeing you in the stands as I warmed up for the 200m, and so great to have you there afterwards to comfort me! We spent some time together this morning sitting on deck-chairs at a police checkpoint outside the village, surrounded by policemen with machine guns - due to security constraints meeting points with family are pretty limited!
Its going to take a while to soak in, its all pretty raw today...wondering what might have been. In the mean time I am focussed on healing the foot, and as for what the future holds I am not sure, I head home next week for a break and time out. I'll keep you posted!