Surgery gives Pittman new hope

Jana Pittman, the 400 metre hurdles world champion, may have proven hasty in ruling herself out of the Olympics after an arthroscopy on her damaged knee today gave the Australian significant cause for hope.

Jana Pittman, the 400 metre hurdles world champion, may have proven hasty in ruling herself out of the Olympics after an arthroscopy on her damaged knee today gave the Australian significant cause for hope.

Pittman had earlier conceded her season – and Olympic dream with it – was over after an MRI scan revealed a two centimetre laceration of the meniscus in her right knee, with estimates of a recovery time hitting five months.

But surgeon Fares Haddad was able to shave the tear out of her cartilage, did not need to insert stitches and Pittman’s chances of making the Games have now been set around 60%.

“It’s just awesome, I’m going to the Olympics again,” she said.

“I should be walking by Saturday, even running and jogging, which means I have got a week before my heat to get back into the swing of things. It’s like I have been given a second life.”

Despite Pittman’s delight, the next 72 hours remain crucial and every stage of the rehabilitation will need to proceed flawlessly for her to keep those dreams alive.

“Everything revolves around recovery now, going back to what I did earlier in the year when I tore my quad – lots of meditation, lots of recovery, good food and lots of positive thoughts,” Pittman told the Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Pittman will be given until August 19, two days before the first round of the women’s 400m hurdles, to prove her fitness.

“We don’t have to submit her name until two days before the competition technical meeting, Peter Montgomery, vice-president of the Australian Olympic Committee, said in Athens today.

“As far as I’m aware there is no one standing by who would take her position.”

The news came as a welcome relief to Pittman after she had earlier conceded her season was over and apologised to Australia.

“That’s this year’s campaign over, I’m not going to the Olympics,” she had said.

“We’ve made the decision that I won’t run at the Olympics.

“I’m sorry that I can’t be there at the Olympics to represent you. I love Australia, I’m so proud of being an Australian.”

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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