Colin Griffin has admitted that his morale and motivation “has taken a battering” after the heart-break of his disqualification at the 38Km mark of last Saturday’s Olympic 50Km walk in London, the Ballinamore walker revealing that he is seriously considering his future as an international athlete.
In the hours after the searing disappointment of a second disqualification in the Olympics, Colin tweeted that the disappointment would challenge his motivation to stay in the sport and he confirmed as much to the Observer.
“Of course, I would love to continue up until Rio 2016 at least and physically it’s possible, but my motivation and morale has taken a battering,” said Colin, “Of course I won’t be making any rash decisions, but when I get home and settled I will sit down and have a good think about things moving forward. “I have to consider everything now as at 30 years of age and having sacrificed a normal working career and a secure income in order to fulfill my potential as a full time athlete, it’s going to be very hard to continue making these same sacrifices when I don’t get my rewards at major championships. “
The depth of his disappointment was only heightened by the lengths Colin went to prepare for his Olympic dream – “I certainly didn’t prepare for an outcome like this. I left no stone unturned in my preparations and covered all bases so it’s hugely disappointing to come away with an outcome like this.“
Analysing his race and how he picked up his red cards, Colin felt that his isolation between groups didn’t help his cause – “I got all my red cards when I was detached from the group. I got detached twice, first time before 25km when the main group I was with injected some pace and I decided to pull back and stay at my own pace of 4.30 per km.
“I got two red cards in quick succession at that stage so I tried to relax and change tempo and it worked and i got back in contact with the group again. Then at 35km the group picked up the pace again and got away and then my third red card came in at 38km.
“I felt really good and relaxed in the group, but when I got detached I guess the judges focused in on me more and I left myself to be an easy target for a red card.”
If anything, Colin’s red cards came as a result of his ambition rather than poor technique as he admitted that he was pushing for a top 20 finish – “That group I was with finished between 10th and 20th so had I been able to compete among that group in the last 10km that’s the range I was looking at in terms of a finishing position.
“My tactics were to race more aggressively from the start in order to settle into a good rhythm early on and avoid getting early red cards like I did in the World cup in Russia. I felt I was in shape to do 3.45 or so and my splits up to 35km indicated that.
“In hindsight I should have backed myself more to stay with that group even when they injected pace.”
Yet despite his own intense disappointment, Colin felt that the Olympics in London was an incredible experience – “The London Olympics was way beyond Beijing and Beijing was good also. The home factor helped, but competing in an Olympics in an English speaking country and being part of the buildup was certainly something I was proud to be part of.”
And part of that experience was the special atmosphere brought by hordes of Irish and, in particular, Leitrim fans to the streets of London – “It was absolutely phenomenal, something I have never experienced in the past and something I may never experience again.
“The atmosphere was electric and my biggest challenge was to stay calm and I phased by it for the first 25km or so, so as not to get carried away. “I was very much aware of a huge Leitrim presence on the course which was very special. I wanted to produce something special there and it is regrettable that I didn’t get the chance to do so.