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Injured Mark Lewis-Francis facing up to two months out

Mark Lewis-Francis is helped from the track
Lewis-Francis could be sidelined for up to eight weeks

Sprinter Mark Lewis-Francis expects to be out for up to eight weeks after tearing a groin muscle in the 60m at Saturday's Birmingham Grand Prix.

The 28-year-old, who has suffered Achilles tendon problems in the past, said he was "gutted" by the setback.

"It's not as bad as the Achilles but I've torn my groin off the bone, it's pretty serious.

"The time's down to doctors, I estimate four to eight weeks but I can't really say," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

Lewis-Francis has already been ruled out of the rest of the indoor season and next month's European Championships in France and will instead turn his attentions to the outdoor season and the first steps on the road to London 2012. In his absence, the 32-strong Great Britain and Northern Ireland squad for Paris includes Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Dwain Chambers and Joel Fearon for the men's 60m sprint.

Now I'm more mature I can deal with a lot more. On the blocks I have a smile on my face

Mark Lewis-Francis

Commenting on the injury, Lewis-Francis added: "I'm still waiting for a specialist to look at the scan to tell me what I need to do to get back on the track."

For a while it appeared as if injuries might prevent the former world junior 100m champion fulfilling the promise he showed early in his career.

But winning European and Commonwealth 100m silver medals last year - the first individual senior outdoor medals of his career - suggested he could emerge as a contender to reach the 100m final at the 2012 Olympics.

"I believe I have the ability to go out there and achieve," insisted Lewis-Francis.

"I have to work hard and dig in, I'm making a lot of sacrifices but at the moment I still believe I can be in the final.

"For me, the goal is definitely a medal. Every step from now on is step towards achieving that final position."

Lewis-Francis also admitted that he had only recently learnt to deal with the hype that has at times accompanied his career.

"There was a lot more expectation on my shoulders. I had a good upbringing but we didn't have much so to have a whole nation's expectation on you was a lot of pressure and I couldn't handle it," he said.

"Now I'm more mature I can deal with a lot more. On the blocks I have a smile on my face, I'm not that serious any more, I'm racing more relaxed."

London 2012 - begin your journey here

see also
Injuries hit Brits in Birmingham
19 Feb 11 |  Athletics
Farah & Idowu shine in Birmingham
19 Feb 11 |  Athletics
Lewis-Francis eyes healthy 2011
11 Jan 11 |  Athletics
2012 Olympics schedule revealed
15 Feb 11 |  London 2012
UK sprint duo given funding boost
01 Nov 10 |  Athletics
Lewis-Francis takes 100m silver
07 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Lemaitre edges out GB duo in 100m
28 Jul 10 |  Athletics

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