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Former sprinter Craig Pickering forced to pull out of Sochi Winter Olympic Games with injury

Craig Pickering & Marlon Devonish 100m semis - British Champs & Olympic Trials 2008. Photo: Paul Foot via Flickr

Craig Pickering & Marlon Devonish 100m semis - British Champs & Olympic Trials 2008. Photo: Paul Foot via Flickr

Craig Pickering has suffered yet another injury heartache after being forced to withdraw from the Sochi Winter Olympic games due to a back injury.

The former track sprinter, who was part of the 4x100m relay squad in Beijing 2008, was tipped to help Great Britain in both the two and four man bobsleigh next week and become only the eighth Briton to represent their country in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

According to reports, the injury looks to be an acute disc prolapse, an injury which was later diagnosed by the British Olympic Association’s Intensive Rehabilitation Unit at Bisham Abbey, as too severe to compete in such a high standard of competition.

It will be a case of déjà vu for Pickering, who also missed out on the London 2012 Olympics with a different back injury and later lost his funding in October in the same year.

The 27-year-old then turned his attention to the bobsleigh in late 2012 with his eyes set on making it to the 2014 Winter Olympic Squad after making his debut at the World Cup in Koenigssee, Germany early last year.

In a statement, later released by the 2008 Olympian, he said; “Having missed out on competing at the London 2012 Games due to a back injury, I am devastated to have suffered a similar fate just days before the start of Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

“We worked so hard to qualify the GBR 2 sled for Games and I am gutted that I won’t be on the start line with Lamin, John and Ben.

“I would like to thank all the staff at British Bobsleigh who have been incredibly helpful in making sure I've had the best support and treatment both in Germany and back in the UK.

“I will be cheering the boys on from the UK and wish the rest of Team GB the best of luck in Sochi.”

Gary Anderson, who is the performance director for British Bobsleigh, showed sympathy towards Pickering, but did phrase him, naming him a “model athlete” since coming in to the sport.

He said: “This is a big blow and I am personally devastated for Craig. I spoke with him just after we heard from the doctors and he was clearly very upset. He had worked so hard to get to the point of selection for Sochi.

“Craig is a very professional athlete and his concern for the team illustrated that. We had Craig sent him back to the UK from our preparation camp in Germany to confirm the original diagnosis but it was pretty clear from the outset that this was going to be tough for him.

“Since we scouted Craig into our programme, he has been a model athlete, bringing with him a large amount of big competition experience and that has helped both GBR1 and GBR2 throughout the qualification process for these Games.”

British Bobsleigh will name a replacement for Pickering within the next 24 hours

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