Even when I was do­ing noth­ing, it was painful

Evening Times - - ATHLETICS -

SU­SAN EGELSTAFF

DEAL­ING with in­juries is part and par­cel of an elite ath­lete’s life. But Sol Sweeney has had to deal with more than a pulled mus­cle or a sprained an­kle this year. He has had to con­tend with a col­lapsed lung. Twice.

His first col­lapsed lung hap­pened at the start of the year, with the sec­ond to­wards the end of the sum­mer, mak­ing life dif­fi­cult.

“It’s quite painful. When I tried to run, it was sore and even when I was sit­ting do­ing noth­ing, it was pretty painful,” the mid­dle-dis­tance spe­cial­ist said.

“Things like walk­ing up the stairs can be tough but grad­u­ally, that goes away al­though it takes a while longer to be able to run again.

“There’s noth­ing spe­cific that causes it, it just can be quite com­mon in young males. It could hap­pen again, there’s a risk of that.”

Sweeney has man­aged to put his is­sues be­hind him though, and this week­end, will line up at the Euro­pean Cross-Coun­try Cham­pi­onships in Lis­bon.

The 21-year-old has been se­lected for GB af­ter a strong win­ter, in­clud­ing an im­pres­sive run that saw him fin­ish sec­ond be­hind Olympian Andy Butchart in the Scot­tish Short-Course Cross-Coun­try Cham­pi­onships last month be­fore fin­ish­ing fourth in the un­der-23s in the Euro tri­als a fort­night ago in Liver­pool.

Be­ing in good form, Sweeney is ex­cited to see how he can do in Lis­bon.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to it, it should be a good race,” he said.

“I feel like I’m in pretty good cross-coun­try shape. I wasn’t sure how it would go in Liver­pool but I ac­tu­ally felt pretty strong so that was re­ally en­cour­ag­ing. It’s a slightly shorter dis­tance in Lis­bon – it’s only 8km so that’s good for me.”

A good re­sult in Por­tu­gal would cap off a good year for Sweeney, set­ting a per­sonal best in the mile and the 3000m but the Glas­gow Univer­sity ath­lete, who is coached by Andy Young and trains along­side Laura Muir, is still not sat­is­fied and is rel­ish­ing the chance to get some un­in­ter­rupted train­ing un­der his belt ahead of next year.

“I wasn’t too happy with my year in terms of times but when you take into ac­count what hap­pened, I guess it wasn’t too bad,” he said. “I did man­age to get myself in shape to run some de­cent times but it was all pretty dis­rupted. So with some good train­ing, what could I do next year?”

As Sweeney looks ahead to 2020, he plans to do an in­door sea­son be­fore he heads out­doors. And with the Bri­tish In­door Cham­pi­onships in Glas­gow in Fe­bru­ary, he has a target to aim for.

“I’ll do some 1500m in the in­door sea­son but I’ll fo­cus more on the 3k,” he said.

“The Bri­tish In­door Champs in Glas­gow are a big one. I train in the Emi­rates ev­ery day so it’ll be great to have the chance to race there.”

Mean­while, it has been re­vealed that dis­cus­sions to cre­ate a cen­tre of excellence for ath­let­ics in Scot­land are at an ad­vanced stage, with Scot­tish Ath­let­ics chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Munro con­fi­dent the project will go ahead.

The pre­ferred lo­ca­tion is be­tween Glas­gow and Ed­in­burgh but Munro says find­ing the funds is the big­gest chal­lenge.

“It’s a lot of money, around £5m-£6m. But, in the grand scheme of fa­cil­ity builds, it’s low level,” Munro told BBC Scot­land. “We’re close to get­ting it right and I’m con­fi­dent we can make it hap­pen.”

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