One more year for Nizhegorodov | 27.09.2012
|Russian race walker Denis Nizhegorodov.
In February, he had his one and only outing indoors over 5000m in 18:58.81 but then disaster struck and he did not take a step further. The injury was serious enough to put him out of the Olympics. At 32 was it time to call it a day?
"In the summer I was really thinking of leaving this great sport of ours. I was already thinking: 'What shall I do now, where shall I go'? But all my injuries have healed and I have resumed training," Nizhegorodov told AllSport.
"Our coach, Victor Chegin, persuaded me to stay. I have had years of injuries and I had another injury in this Olympic year. But before this I was injured in 2002, 2005 and 2010. This is sport, that is all and you leave it when your level is not quite right. To get young athletes to the level of a world championship or Olympic Games is incredibly difficult but in my case it is just a question of putting the train back on the rails.
"In general, Victor (Chegin) convinced me to stay. Although I understand that the injury could resurface, there is not much I can do about that. I must confess that when I talked about retirement, I just wanted to see Victor's reaction and he was categorically against it. After that I took the decision to stay."
But like fellow Russian and former Olympic champion Olga Kaniskina, Nizhegorodov is not committing himself to continue until Rio 2016. At the moment he is just targeting the 2013 World Championships to be held in Moscow.
"I will give it one more year. That is 100 per cent sure. It all depends on how my body reacts. The doctors said that an injury such as inflammation of the knee tendon can only be cured with physiotherapy. It's been six months since the injury occurred and I have just started training again. I am operating at my usual speed but the volume is still not the same. On October 1, I shall start with two sessions each day. I hope to get back to my previous fitness and if my body does not let me down, everything should be OK."
One of the distances Nizhegorodov says he will omit in future is the 5km which he blames for his injury in February. All his major medals have come in the 50km.
"I am never going to do the 5km again. I have made that mistake. In my head I finally understood it is not my distance. Naturally you fight and struggle and it leads to disaster, as with me.
"For now I am training at our base in Saransk and when it starts to freeze we will go to Sochi or Kislovodsk. The first competition is planned for February. The Russian championships are planned for then and I shall do the 35km. After that we shall see."