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Elliot backs Ellis for World Indoors

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8 February 2008

 

Peter Elliott believes European 800 metres bronze medallist Sam Ellis must snatch the opportunity on home territory to clinch a place in next month's World Indoor Championships, reports Dave Martin.
 
Ellis will be contesting only his second race for 18 months since that marvellous performance in Gothenburg after his career was put on a lengthy hold by injury.

The Beijing Olympics in August and a place in the final is his sole target this year and he won't allow any other competition to prejudice his chances of wearing a Team GB vest there.


Ellis admits the World Indoors is a possibility - and Elliott, one of the country's greatest-ever middle distance runners, believes he should include it as a vital part of his Olympic preparations.


Elliott, former Commonwealth 1500m champion, added: "What he needs now is plenty of competition, If I had been in his situation, I would go to the World Indoors.


"It is an important year for Sam, and equally important that he re-establishes himself as British number one, Michael Rimmer having succeeded him last season.


"He needs to build up his confidence and despite his bronze medal, he needs more experience of competing at major championships which can be a cauldron.


"It will give him the opportunity of mixing it with the best and getting used to everything associated with traveling and competing at this level."


In a tight finish in Gothenburg, Ellis found a minuscule gap and darted between his rivals to brilliantly claim an unexpected bronze.

 

The Yorkshireman who went to the championships as Great Britain's number three, returned home as the top two-lap runner with an exciting career forecast ahead of him.


But then almost overnight everything turned sour when he pulled up lame during a training session and his future plans particularly last year's World Championships, were put on hold.


"I couldn't walk the next day and couldn't run again for eight months," added 25-year-old Ellis, who was diagnosed with plica syndrome, where tissue affected a nerve in his leg.


Ellis after his outstanding Euro display only returned to action a fortnight ago at the Norwich Union International match in Glasgow, where he was run out of the top three positions.

 
His time of one minute 50.68 seconds was nothing to write home about - but this weekend in Sheffield he has the opportunity to drastically reduce it at the Norwich Union World Indoor trials and UK Championships.


Ellis needs to run 1min 48.50sec for world indoor qualifier and also win the race to guarantee automatic selection for Valencia.

 
"Sam missed all of last season and until Glasgow he hadn't competed for 18 months, but made a good comeback there," said Elliott
 
Elliott who works at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, said: "If the opportunity arises for him to run at the World's - he should grasp it with both hands.


"I've seen him out training here in Sheffield and he's looked really good. But this weekend is going to be a serious test against some top domestic runners.


"But he's running on his home track, so there will be plenty of support for him and believe me, it does help."