Tamberi is back on the road to the big time

Tamberi is back on the road to the big time
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Italian high jumper Gianmarco Tamberi has his sights set on this summer's IAAF World Athletics Championships in London following injury that kept him from competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

It was one of the most heartbreaking athletics moments of 2016 - the cries of pain and despair of Italian high jumper Gianmarco Tamberi suffering injury in Monaco that ruled him out of the Olympic Games.

Now, nine months on, the picture is brighter and the future is clearer as Tamberi has his sights set on this summer's IAAF World Athletics Championships in London.

It is still early in his comeback, but from the depths of the dark days of missing Rio, there is a positive light shining for the European champion.

Speaking to OA Sports, Tamberi has revealed: "It is not yet decided. I am not going to hurry. And if I go to London I want to compete for the title, not to make up the numbers. My goal must always be to win a medal.

“I’ll decide later, in May and June, according to the results that I'll be able to get in training.”

But as he added: “I spent a week in bed crying. I wondered why it had happened to me.”

Renowned for competing while sporting only half a beard, the great showman of track and field triumphed in Amsterdam in July when he won the European crown with 2.32m in a year where he had already been crowned world indoor champion in Portland in March (2.36m).

Ahead was the prospect of going to Rio as favourite, a position he looked to have endorsed even more just days after the European Athletics Championships when he competed in Monaco at the Diamond League and, at the third attempt, broke his own national record with 2.39m.

His smile told the story. He could not have been happier.

The bar was raised to 2.41m, and then suddenly his year came tumbling down as he rolled off the mat, sustaining an injury ligament injury to his left leg that saw him taken away on a stretcher with his Olympic dreams shattered.

Throughout it all has been his desire to recommence where he left off, thus his aim to be in London only if he can win a medal. His hunger has remained.

Still only 24, Tamberi has many more chances of gold again. He is back training, deadlifting, and having physiotherapy, and even now he is counting down to the next Olympic Games.

“I want to come back even stronger than before,” he said. “I cannot wait for the Tokyo Olympics. I wish the Games in 2020 would start tomorrow.”