After Olympic heartache, Sayers targets Rio 2016

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JAVELIN star Goldie Sayers has vowed to fight on for at least another four years after having her dreams of securing a medal at her home Olympics shattered by an elbow injury.

Arriving at Tuesday’s qualification session for the women’s javelin competition in arguably the form of her life, hopes were high among the Team GB camp that the Newmarket-born athlete could go one better than the fourth place she achieved in Beijing four years ago.

There has been no faulting her form but question marks had been raised over the 30 year old’s fitness after it was revealed at the end of last month that she tore a ligament in her right arm while in action at the Aviva London Grand Prix, where she set a new UK record of 66.17m.

Those injury fears soon become apparent when the Belgrave Harrier clutched hold of her arm after her first failed throw, a sight that was to be repeated in her remaining two attempts, which were both no throws, resulting in an earlier than anticipated exit.

“I am sure people will criticise me for competing when injured, but I did a throwing session a few days ago and that went really well,” said Sayers, speaking to the BBC. “I am devastated but I could not miss the chance to compete at my home Olympics.

“I caught a nerve in the warm-up and I could not feel my hand.

“There is a lot of skill in throwing the javelin and I just couldn’t get its flight.

“Physically I have been in the best shape in my entire life. Had this 
been three weeks ago I would have been fine.

“The irony is in 15 years of throwing the javelin I have never once hurt my elbow. Why it had to happen three weeks before the biggest throw of my life I will never now.”

Sayers, who is a former pupil at King’s School, Ely, was quick to praise those closest to her, for their role into getting her to the Games.

“I have had the most emotionally draining three weeks of my life,” said Sayers.

“I went on an MRI scanner on my 30th birthday and I thought that my Olympics was over then.

“I would like to thank my coach and friends and family who have got me through to this stage.

“I had total belief that I could do it, but it was just not meant to be.”

Although failing to step up to the mark at her home Games, the 10-time UK champion is not giving up just yet, with attentions now turning to the 2016 Games in Rio de Janiero.

Should she qualify for the 2016 event it would mark her fourth consecutive Olympic Games.

“I know I can throw 70 metres having thrown so well three weeks ago,” added Sayers. “I enjoyed every moment of it here although it was a struggle with my body not responding and I am going to carry on to Rio and hopefully put things right.

“It is just so gutting not to be in the final of your home Olympics.”

Topping the 12 qualifiers for today’s final of the women’s javelin was reigning Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova, who threw a best distance of 66.19m.