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Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Saturday, 20 June 2009 16:55 UK

Benjamin - I almost quit running

Tim Bejamin
Tim Benjamin beat 2004 Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner in 2005

Olympic finalist Tim Benjamin has revealed he almost quit athletics following his injury nightmare.

The 2004 European Cup 400m champion was forced to withdraw from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, because of a sinus problem.

And Benjamin, the ex-Commonwealth and European silver medallist, admitted: "To be honest, I very nearly didn't come back to the sport.

"I definitely thought about quitting, it crossed my mind loads of times."

The Welsh athlete is back in a Great Britain vest at the European Team Championships in Portugal.

Benjamin felt his withdrawal from the 2008 Olympics was the final straw after too many injury-plagued years.

The 27-year-old missed the 2006 Commonwealth Games because of a knee injury before his Olympics heartbreak.

"Pulling out of Beijing was really frustrating," Benjamin revealed to BBC Sport.

Christian Malcolm
I've changed my training base to train alongside Christian who is probably my best friend in athletics and a guy that always puts a smile on your face

400m runner Tim Benjamin

"It was the end of a lot of things going wrong for me.

"And when I started back training at the end of November and did some jogging, I wasn't really enjoying it

"And I thought to myself 'Tim you've got to enjoy it and look at this differently, you have to change your way of thinking and unless you do that, you cannot carry on'."

Benjamin changed both his professional and personal outlook on athletics and joined former Olympic sprint champion Linford Christie's stable to train alongside "best mate" and fellow Welsh athlete Christian Malcolm.

"I've completely changed my outlook on things," continued Benjamin.

"I've changed my training base to train alongside Christian who is probably my best friend in athletics and a guy that always puts a smile on your face.

"Training with Linford Christie is completely different to what I'm used to, the atmosphere is far less intense and I'm going with flow a bit more. It's working well.

"I needed a completely different outlook on my running if I am to carry on until 2012."

"I've really balanced my life out so athletics doesn't play such a huge part as it did in terms of my personal life and I feel great for it."

Benjamin broke the magical sub 45 second barrier in 2005 when he beat the then world and Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner in Monaco to finish second at the World Athletics final.

And he began to live up to his billing as one of British athletics' great hopes.

But niggles, muscle problems and a host of other injuries have dealt a huge blow to Benjamin's once promising career.

His victory in Turin earlier this year and a run of 45.51 seconds in Thessaloníki earlier this month has given Benjamin hope after almost two years without running a competitive 400m.

606: DEBATE

"I did run last year but it was in the thick of my illness," said Benjamin.

"It was a really bad decision, I shouldn't have run but I was so desperate to try and go for the Olympics in Beijing."

Benjamin, though, is now enjoying his new lease of life with the pressure off in the Portuguese city of Leira with the Great Britain team.

"I feel a little bit like the new boy," he joked.

"You only miss one season and that's it, you're completely forgotten.

"But I'm happy and enjoying my athletics again. I consider myself to have had an injury free winter despite two pulled hamstrings as they're niggles in my experience!

"It was fantastic to get the GB call as I was not focusing on these championships at all, all I was trying to do was have fun and see what happens.

"So much so that when I got the call up I didn't even know where the championships were."



see also
Ohuruogu to lead GB in Portugal
17 Jun 09 |  Athletics
Welsh chief rues Olympic deficit
15 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Benjamin unavailable for Olympics
10 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Benjamin and Jackson part company
19 Jul 07 |  Athletics
Benjamin ready to launch comeback
25 May 07 |  Athletics
Benjamin dealt Commonwealth blow
01 Jan 06 |  Athletics
Benjamin smashes personal best
09 Sep 05 |  Athletics
Benjamin cleared of stroke fear
15 Mar 05 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics


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