Welsh indoor 800m record-holder putting injury and illness behind him as he targets Commonwealth Games final
His spot on the Wales team for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games might be “subject to fitness” but Joe Thomas says that’s “no big deal” as he looks forward to returning to form following illness and injury struggles.
It was only this week that the 800m man received diagnosis of an underlying stomach condition, one he has suffered from for around the last four years, since just before the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi, in fact. With the condition diagnosed, it means he is already one step closer on the road to recovery, as the 26-year-old explained to AW.
“I’m pleased to get the nod,” said Thomas on the subject of his selection for the Games. “Obviously I’ve got to show some fitness, but that would happen pre-Glasgow anyway. There’s no big deal with that one.”
The three-time UK indoor champion, who suffered a stress fracture after a successful start to the Olympic year in 2012 and then picked up another on his hip at the end of 2013, added: “I found out this week that I’ve had an underlying stomach condition for about the last four years so the injuries could have been linked to that.
“I only had the examination done on Wednesday and it came back indicating colitis and Crohn’s disease,” he continued, with athletes such as heptathlete Louise Hazel and his Welsh team-mate Brett Morse among those to also suffer from colitis. “I’m still waiting on the results of some biopsies, but that might shed some light into why I’ve picked up quite a few injuries as well because it can be linked.
“I’m going to get some medication for it which should alleviate a lot of problems straight away.”
Thomas returned to the track for the first time since last July with a 49.44 400m in blustery conditions in May, before clocking 1:50.42 to finish third in the 800m at the Welsh Championships last weekend. With a personal best of 1:46.20 from 2008, the Cardiff athlete clocked a season’s best of 1:47.24 in 2013, a year in which he dipped under 1:48 – the Welsh ‘B’ standard for the Games – three times outdoors.
With around six weeks to prove his fitness, Thomas is looking forward to getting some racing done abroad in better conditions to bring his times down.
“I’ve got about six or seven weeks, so there’s no major rush,” said Thomas, who next competes in Germany on June 11. “It allows me to get in a few good races abroad with some more favourable conditions because that’s always a big thing with the 800m.”
Ultimately his aim for the Games is to at least replicate what he achieved in Delhi, the then 22-year-old finishing seventh in the final.
“Making the final is always the main aim,” he said. “I think I’ve improved a lot over the past four years.
” So I’m hoping to get through the rounds, get to the final and just be really competitive.”
» Joe Thomas has been named part of a 33-strong Wales team for the Commonwealth Games and you can find the full team listed here