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Messages of support as Killeen vows to return
MALVERN mountain biker Liam Killeen has been overwhelmed by messages of support since his Olympic heartbreak.
Killeen underwent surgery this week after breaking his leg and ankle while competing in the crosscountry final on Sunday.
As the 30-year-old British and Commonwealth champion looks forward to returning to Malvern to continue his recuperation, he told the Gazette: “Since the accident I have had so many messages of support, and that has really given me a huge boost and made me all the more determined to get back on my bike and show what I can do.
“It was quite a complicated procedure and I have had to have a bone graft done and a lot of metalwork put in my foot but the surgeon was pleased with how it went and my recovery has started well.”
Despite its unfortunate ending, Killeen will take away many positive memories of representing Great Britain at a home Olympics.
“The crowds were amazing,”
“Training on the course the day before the race gave me an idea of what to expect, and on the day itself there was such a buzz and sense of excitement.
“But once I was on the line it was just like any other race to be honest. I was not aware of the huge crowd and just focused on getting a good first lap in.
“It was a fast race, but looking at my training times I am confident I would have managed a top-10 finish. I would have done myself proud.”
Although the mountain bikers were based near the Essex course, away from the busy scenes of the Olympic Park, Killeen did get a chance to soak up the atmosphere.
“I went to the Olympic Village when I first arrived at the games and it gave me a huge buzz just walking around with all of the athletes,” he said.
“There was a great sense of what GB had been achieving all the way through the games and it was a great feeling to be part of that.”
One man tipping Killeen to bounce back is Alastair Howie, chairman of British Cycling-accredited club Malvern Cycle Sport.
“We were very upset for him, this is the third time for him now and it just seems to be the curse of the Olympics for him,” he said. “We know Liam and he is a big supporter of the club. When we have had events involving young people he has often come along and given of his time and supported us, and he is a real inspiration.
“Our hearts go out to him but he is still our number one mountain biker and has come back previously, so we hope that he has a speedy recovery and look forward to him retaining that position.”