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Gillick heading to Helsinki

Gillick heading to Helsinki

Gillick heading to Helsinki

Not much has been seen of Ireland’s 2005 and 2007 European Athletics Indoor Championships 400m gold medallist David Gillick since July last year after a calf injury prematurely brought an end to his season.

He missed last summers’ World Championships and he also decided to pass on this winter’s indoor season despite his past performances under cover.

However, be assured, the 28-year-old Dubliner has certainly not hung up his spikes.

He’s been working hard at his British training base in Loughborough and has set his sights on a medal at the 2012 European Athletics Championships in Helsinki, which will be held from 27 June – 1 July.

“The plan is to finish some pre-season training in America, later next month, and finish off there with a few races, just to get going again,” Gillick told the Irish media earlier this week.

“Then when I come back to Europe around the end of May, the plan is to race pretty much weekly, and that includes the European Championships, in Helsinki.

“I think from an Irish perspective it’s a great opportunity. I’m looking at the opportunity to put three rounds back-to-back which we don’t have a chance to do at our own national championships. That would stand me in great stead and would basically be a dry-run for the Olympics,” added the Irish 400m record holder whose best time of 44.77 came three years ago.

Gillick the 400m semi-finals at the 2006 European Athletics Championships in Göteborg, Sweden, and then progressed to fifth place two years ago in Barcelona, where he was Ireland’s leading male athlete.

He is aiming to become the first Irishman to get a medal since 1998, with the women flying the flag for Ireland since then thanks to distance runner Sonia O’Sullivan and hurdler Derval O’Rourke getting on the podium.

Nor has any male Irish athlete ever struck gold at the European Athletics Championships but it’s an honour Gillick hopes to acquire in Helsinki.

However, he also knows that the reigning European champion over one lap of the track, Belgium’s Kevin Borlée, will not give up his title lightly and there will inevitably be some strong British rivals, whoever is selected, given the country’s tradition and depth in the event and after Michael Bingham and Martyn Rooney took the silver and bronze medals in Barcelona.

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