ATHLETICS: ANGUISHED Allyn Condon has seen the flame go out on his Olympic hopes.
The Runcorn Rocket has been forced to abandon his bid to reach Athens, due to injury and illness.
It is a bitter blow for the 29-year-old sprinter, who had been looking to step up from 100m and 200m to 400m for the games and was optimistic of making the Great Britain team.
However, the road to Greece has proved decidedly rocky for the man from Castlefields, who has reluctantly withdrawn from this weekend's Norwich Union Olympic Trials and AAA Championships in Manchester.
Sale Harrier Condon, coached by his dad Morris, had last month admitted to finding it difficult to compensate for missing 11 weeks of training due to injuries.
Knee and foot problems followed the hamstring injury which forced him to pull up at the Indoor AAA Championships in Sheffield, after he had set one of the world's fastest times earlier in the indoor campaign.
On top of that, he has had to devote time to setting up his business in Warrington town centre and, as a final straw, he has also been suffering from a virus.
Condon said: 'It has all affected my training quite badly. When I try to put my foot back on the track, I just keep breaking down all the time.
'With me missing a lot of training earlier on, it has got the point now where I have had to make a decision.
'It's a hard decision in Olympic year but I have sat down with my dad and talked it through.
'It is probably the best decision. You know your own body and that there's something wrong.
'Some people might think that I'm someone who's not bothered and taking it lightly,' said Condon, who ran at the Olympics in Sydney four years ago.
'But this is something for which I have trained for years and years.
'It is a big disappointment because in the shape I was in coming off the indoor season, I knew I could have got in the team.
'But I don't think it is worth sacrificing the next two or three years, even for the Olympics. Pushing myself through it could put me out for that time. I would rather just get ready for next year.
'I wish I was going to the trials and going to the Olympics but it's just the way it is and I have to get on with it.'
Condon's training partner Darren Scott is at least enjoying better fortunes.
The 35-year-old from Weston Point has been declared the UK's fastest veteran on the back of his performances this season.
The Fitness First personal trainer tops the roll of honour in the 35-39 age category.
Scott recorded his season's best 200m of 21.7 seconds in finishing third for Traf-ford AC in a British League Division Two match at Eton on Saturday.
He came runner-up at 100m, missing out on another fastest time of the year by eight hundredths of a second.
Scott also anchored Trafford's 4x100m team to a club-record 41.5 secs - knocking four tenths off a time which had stood since 1978.
Trafford are now almost certain of promotion after two first places and a second in their first three meetings of four.
Scott is now targeting a place in the winter's European Indoor Championships.