Pickering 'devastated' by injury

Salisbury Journal: Craig Pickering has been ruled out of the Sochi Games with a back injury Craig Pickering has been ruled out of the Sochi Games with a back injury

Former sprinter Craig Pickering has declared himself "devastated" at being ruled out of Great Britain's bobsleigh team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi due to a back injury.

Pickering had been due to partner pilot Lamin Deen in both the two-man and four-man events this week before sustaining his injury last Sunday during the team's pre-Olympic training camp in Konigssee.

Pickering, who was part of the 4x100m relay team in Beijing, would have become only the eighth athlete to represent Great Britain at both a summer and winter Olympic Games.

He said: "Having missed out on competing at the London 2012 Games due to a back injury, I am devastated to have suffered a similar fate just days before the start of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

"We worked so hard to qualify the GBR 2 sled for the Games and I am gutted that I won't be on the start line with Lamin (Deen), John (Baines) and Ben (Simons).

"I would like to thank all the staff at British Bobsleigh, who have been incredibly helpful in making sure I've had the best support and treatment both in Germany and back in the UK.

"I will be cheering the boys on from the UK and wish the rest of Team GB the best of luck in Sochi."

The British team will now be able to call up a named replacement for Pickering, although it is likely one of the existing team members will transfer to take over Pickering's berth in the two-man sled.

British Bobsleigh team leader Gary Anderson said: "This is a big blow and I am personally devastated for Craig.

"I spoke with him just after we heard from the doctors and he was clearly very upset, he had worked so hard to get to the point of selection for Sochi.

"Craig is a very professional athlete and his concern for the team illustrated that.

"We will now consider the options open to us, and the coaches will sit down over the next 24 hours and evaluate the next move and selection, both for the two-man and four-man competitions.

"We are fortunate that we have a fantastic squad, which has strength and depth, so we know that whoever replaces Craig will put in a credible performance for Team GB."

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