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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 19:41 GMT
Turnbull regains his motivation
By John Haughey
BBC Sport NI

Belfast athlete Gareth Turnbull
Gareth Turnbull is in the 3000 metres event at the Irish Indoors
Gareth Turnbull's run in the 3000m will be the main focus for local fans at Saturday's opening session of the Irish Indoor Championships in Belfast.

Turnbull was cleared of a doping violation 15 months ago but the emotional trauma hit the Belfast athlete with a vengeance last summer.

He did not run for three months as he struggled to regain his motivation.

"But the people who told me that I would never lose the appetite to run were right," Turnbull told BBC Sport.

The St Malachy's club athlete is not putting himself under any pressure ahead of Saturday's race.

His rivals will include his good friend and another Mark Carroll-coached athlete Liam Reale and possibly James Nolan.

Turnbull won the 1500m title and claimed bronze in the 800m at the Odyssey Arena last year but two weeks later, the wheels were to come off during the metric mile heats at the European Indoors in Birmingham.

"If you have been through an emotionally traumatic experience, you are going to get kicked back eventually," said Turnbull.

"It did not come when all the hype was around it but afterwards and in my own time.

"I just had a lot of issues to deal with in terms of personally how it affected me.

"I do not think I gave the impact of it enough credit until after the European Indoors.

James McIlroy
James McIlroy is entered in the 800 metres in Belfast

"When I ran that badly, there was something clearly wrong and it was not really physical. I just could not go into every race that charged.

"I had to kind of draw a line under it and last summer's track season was what bit the bullet."

Turnbull's training, as evidenced by a couple of road-race wins, has been encouraging and he views Saturday's race as "an exercise in training".

Like Turnbull, American sprinter Rae Edwards is hoping to claim a place in this year's Olympics and the Alabama native has opted to make the Odyssey his first port of call during his short European indoor season.

The 26-year-old is in the elite club of sprinters to have run sub-10 seconds for 100m outdoors, having clocked 9.99 in 2005, when he represented the US in the World Championships.

Edwards' initial sporting dream was to forge a career in American Football but his sights are now firmly set on Beijing in August.

"I played (American Football) all the way up through college," says the American.

"Actually, I was going to try out again for the NFL this past Football season.

"But I had a talk with my parents and it felt as though I would be running away from the sport of track and field.

"I set to become an Olympian and to get a medal and I felt it would be kind of cowardly to run away from that."

Roman Sebrle's late addition to the Odyssey entries was more than adequate compensation for the meeting organisers after Derval O'Rourke's withdrawal because of injury.

The Olympic, world and European decathlon champion will compete in the 60m hurdles, shot and long jump and his participation should swell Sunday's crowd.

Larne man James McIlroy, who is being aimed at 1500m this year by new coach Mark Rowland, will run the 800m in Belfast after originally intending to run the metric mile at the Odyssey.

There will also be interest in how Anna Boyle goes in 60m on Sunday after her disappointing 2007 outdoor season while day two also features Swedish star Jenny Kallur races in the 60m hurdles.

Sebrle to make return to Odyssey
24 Jan 08 |  Athletics

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