RICHARD BUCK is gearing up for a shot at a seventh international athletics medal convinced he made the right decision in resting a niggling hamstring injury.
The 26-year-old, who is part of the Great Britain 4x400 metres relay team that goes for gold in the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg this weekend, believes listening to his body could be the factor that sees him receive yet another gong.
City of York Athletic Club runner Buck pulled out of the final of the European trials in Sheffield and then withdrew from the British Grand Prix at Birmingham earlier this month after scans revealed a sore hamstring.
Although that has cost him an individual 400m spot in Sweden, Buck believes it is already paying dividends as he continues his focus towards the World Athletics Championships in Moscow later this year.
“It was really disappointing not to get out on the track when I was in shape to do so,” he said of the injury, which was picked up by medical teams only a couple of hours before he was due to run in the final in Sheffield.
“But I am really happy to still make the team. We should have a pretty strong relay team. I definitely made the right decision. I have got years left to run if I made the right decision.
“As it happens, I have come right back in the same shape as I did before and I think I dealt with it well.”
When asked if he might have tried to compete with the injury in previous years, Buck added: “A younger me would have done that.
“I would have stayed out there. I wanted to compete as much as I could. Now I understand the limitations of my body and I listen to my gut instinct a bit more.
“If I turn up at a session and something isn’t there I will delay it by 24 hours. The body is an amazing thing.
“Moscow is really my focus this year and to do as well as possible during the outdoor season. I’ve never really translated my indoor performance to outdoors and that has to be the best part of the season.”
Buck is one of six members of the relay squad, which also includes Luke Lennon-Ford and Conrad Williams, and will be working with coach Lloyd Cowan, who also looks after former Olympic gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu, for the first time.
“It is up to the decision of the coach,” he said about his prospects of making the four that will run in the relay final on Sunday. “It’s the first time I will be working with this relay coach and I will see what he thinks.
“I’m quite positive. I’m quite highly ranked and will be fresh for the relay.”