ATHLETE Richard Buck was “optimistic” of shaking off a sore hamstring to compete in this weekend’s British Athletics Grand Prix as he bids for a late charge at the European Indoor Championships.
The two-time Olympian, who runs for City of York Athletic Club, was forced to pull out of the 400 metres final at the European Trials and UK Indoor Championships in Sheffield last Sunday when medical advice suggested running could cause more damage to the niggle.
But, following a further scan on Monday, the 26-year-old is hopeful the problem will ease in time for another crack at posting a fast time this Saturday in Birmingham when he will come up against the likes of Michael Bingham, Jack Green and Conrad Williams.
Buck, who has enjoyed enormous success at indoor level throughout his career and has scooped five medals, says he won’t jeopardise his health in order to take part – stressing his priority is the outdoor season and the upcoming World Championships in Moscow in August.
He acknowledged, however, that if there is a chance of competing indoors at Gothenburg next month he would like to take it.
“I saw a specialist on Monday and it is nothing major and it is about keeping on top of it this week,” he said. “I’ll make a decision as the week progresses.
“There’s every indication that it will be okay for Birmingham this weekend.
“I haven’t secured a place yet at the European Indoor Championships and there is still a third discretionary place in the individual and the relay team hasn’t been decided yet.
“As far as Gothenburg is concerned, there is no doubt that I would be fit for that but I have got to get into the team first.
“But fitness and health is everything. If you are not healthy, you can’t train and if you can’t train you can’t improve. I will make sure I make the right decision, but I am still optimistic.”
Speaking of the decision to withdraw from last weekend’s final, having clocked times of 46.84 seconds and 47.28 in earlier rounds of the competition, Buck added: “We had a great medical team on hand. I had an ultrasound a couple of hours before the final and they gave me their advice from what the scan said and my clinical symptoms.
“It’s about being healthy and it seemed bizarre to risk it.
“I have had a couple of good years and there is no reason why that can’t continue.
“I’ve really enjoyed the indoors, I still do. But my priorities have switched. I have matured and I would really like to step into the outdoor season healthy and make that my priority. Last season the focus was on the outdoors.
“It is still a major championship and I very much enjoy competing at major championships. As long as it doesn’t hurt me I like racing as often as I can. There’s something about the way I run, and the natural rhythm, which goes quite well with the indoors. I haven’t had the problems of making the adjustments (to a tighter track).”
Having been restored to funding by UK Athletics last December, which comes with access to specialist medical advice, he is already reaping the benefits.
“It’s helping a lot,” he added. “Definitely with having access to the medical side just in terms of this little niggle. I would have had to go into it blind without the funding.”