Focus now on 50k walk . .

AFTER his spectacular display in yesterday’s 20k, Robert Heffernan is all set to toe the line again in Friday morning’s 50k walk at the European Championships in Barcelona.

After a day of deliberation, recovery, rest and reflection, the tough Togher man last night made the decision, in consultation with Liam O’Reilly, his masseur and advisor; his coach, Ivonne Cassin; Irish team manager, Patsy McGonagle and Chris Jones, that he would take up the challenge.

Heffernan has had only one outing over the trip and that was his very first race of the season when he set a new national record at 3:50.08. He wanted the 50k as an option in the future but maybe not so soon.

“The decision is made,” Liam O’Reilly confirmed.

“We gave it a lot of thought. Our first concern was how he would respond to the race this morning — his mental response was very measured and very calculated, realising that it was his best ever performance.

“We wanted to ascertain how he was going to respond physically.

“We also had to decide what is the purpose of the outcome of the race. We are satisfied he has recovered. In fact he is amazingly well recovered from a physical point of view.”

O’Reilly is a final year PE student at UCC and has just completed a very intensive module on nutrition as part of that course.

“I am in a good position to calculate what his nutritional requirements are over the next few days,” he said. “What the requirements are for hydration and carbo loading.

“We have to take into account the conditions — today temperature rose as they competed. The temperature is going to be high so he is going to be losing fluid.

“He was very disappointed at not getting a medal but the phenomenal goodwill and support that is coming from the people at home has lifted him. People realise the enormity of what he has done and what he has achieved here today.”

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