Fionnuala Britton’s decision to skip the remainder of the outdoor season was taken with a longer-term view, admitted coach Chris Jones.
“The bigger picture is about next season,” Jones said of Britton, who will not compete at next month’s World championships in Moscow.
The double European cross county champion, struck down with a chest infection in recent weeks, hasn’t raced competitively since June 12, but Jones revealed the viral infection wasn’t the deciding factor.
“The cross county and the indoors went well, but the fact is this was always a development year so we never were really chasing anything.
“We called this year a development year, because after the Olympic cycle we had this year as a development year.”
Britton spent most of May altitude training in Font Romue, France, but picked up a chest infection on her return home, forcing her out of the European Team championships in Santry.
“When she picked up the cold and it went to her chest, we did a course of antibiotics, then the bloods came back a little disturbed. Fionnuala is the sort of athlete who doesn’t get injured, but is a little bit sensitive in the viral area and it didn’t go away as soon as we would have liked.
“You could have carried on, but it was just a bigger opportunity to give her a break. When you’re on that next four-year cycle all the way to Rio, it was an opportunity to take a break. There wasn’t major priorities on this year so that’s what the decision was. The disappointment isn’t huge.”
The European indoor bronze medallist has returned to light training, but won’t race competitively until the cross country season kicks off in earnest. Jones denied that Britton’s hectic schedule stemming from the London Olympics, where she subsequently competed at the European and World cross, and European indoors contributed to the decision, but added: “I just don’t believe you can keep rolling in season after season.
“I’m glad she has been able to pull off this year, she can take that break because when she starts back now she can focus on the Euro cross, where there will be huge expectation on her, all the way through to the European outdoors next season where she intends to double up in the 5,000m and 10,000m. They will be the major goals so to be able to take a break before having to do all that work, and stay in that focus, is important.”
Meanwhile, a high quality field has been assembled for this evening’s Morton Games. The women’s 800m features Irish pair Laura Crowe and Ciara Everard, who will face stiff competition from America’s Chanelle Price and Khadija Rahmouni from Spain.
The men’s equivalent also promises plenty of excitement with Mark English and Paul Robinson set to go head-to-head. Ailis McSweeney and Kelly Proper, both disqualified at the Cork City Sports meet, will be hoping for better fortunes in the 100m this time around, while America’s Ben True is favourite for the Morton Mile.
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