Paul Pollock gutted as injury threatens Olympics dream
Ireland's long distance international Paul Pollock has dramatically pulled out of this weekend's London Marathon, placing a question mark over his potential selection for this summer's Olympic Games.
The 29-year-old doctor from Holywood picked up a foot injury just after his outstanding 14th place in the World Half Marathon in Cardiff three weeks ago, where he was the second European finisher in a classy time of 62 minutes and 46 seconds.
London, however, would have been a key test for the Annadale man who is presently only ranked fourth in the Irish list behind Kevin Seaward of St Malachy's, Mick Clohisey of Raheny and Clonliffe's Sergiu Ciobanu.
The seriousness of Pollock's injury is not immediately clear but his place in the three-man Irish Marathon squad is in doubt.
"I am gutted not to get out of my block of training for the London Marathon," he said.
Pollock's best time of two hours, 15 minutes and 38 seconds is only some 24 seconds slower than third-ranked Ciobanu.
If fully fit he would have been confident of beating Ciobanu's time in London but he must now rely on the selectors to give him the nod for the final Irish place, satisfying them that he has recovered from his injury before they announce their selection on May 23.
Pollock can take some comfort from the fact that he beat Ciobanu in Cardiff by a huge margin of nearly four minutes.
It certainly would be a bitter disappointment for him if he does not make the Rio team, especially as he has already proved himself on the World stage.
Pollock was the second European finisher in the 2013 World Championships in Moscow where he competed in temperatures of over 30 degrees to finish 21st out of 80 competitors.
It is likely that former Belfast runner Seaward, who now lives in Cardiff, will get the nod for Rio as the fastest Irishman with a time of two hours, 14 minutes and 52 seconds.
His St Malachy's team-mate Thomas Frazer will be bidding to improve his PB by over two minutes in London to gain selection. Also racing is Belfast's Stephen Scullion, who has a PB of two hours, 34 minutes.