Veteran Eamon Sullivan says he still has the 2016 Rio Olympics in his sights despite being forced to withdraw from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Rather than signal the end, Eamon Sullivan believes his decision to withdraw from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games will extend his swimming career until the 2016 Olympics.
Sullivan – 29 in August – succumbed to ongoing shoulder problems on Friday in another injury setback for the former 50m and 100m freestyle world record holder.
Matthew Abood will replace the Beijing Olympic 100m silver medallist at next month’s Glasgow Games.
But Sullivan had no plans to give away the sport, saying the Rio Games were still firmly in his sights.
“This wasn’t an easy decision but it has been made with the longevity of my career in mind, and with Rio as my ultimate goal,” he said.
Sullivan had been a potential Glasgow feel good story after his national titles heroics in April.
He had barely been sighted since being reprimanded as part of the infamous “Stilnox Six” London Olympic 4x100m freestyle relay squad.
However, the triple Olympian set the world’s third fastest time of 2014 before blitzing a 50m freestyle field featuring James Magnussen to qualify for his third Commonwealth Games team.
Sullivan switched his focus to 50m after overcoming two shoulder operations before the nationals.
He had booked post-titles clean-up surgery but that was not expected to hamper his Games preparation.
“Whilst my shoulder operation went well, and I have done everything in my control to get myself training at the level I know is required to compete at the Commonwealth Games, it is simply not race ready and I do not feel that I will be in a position to compete at my best in Glasgow,” Sullivan said.
Abood saluted Sullivan after finally making his first Commonwealth Games team at 28.
“His professionalism in handling this situation shows his character,” he said.
“He could have quite easily gone to Glasgow and been competitive but he chose to make the right decision for himself and Australia.”
Abood had contested four world championships but had never made a Games team.
He lost to Magnussen by 0.1 of a second in a swim-off for a 50m Glasgow Games berth at the nationals.
Abood (22.66 seconds) celebrated his good fortune by winning the 50m freestyle ahead of Magnussen (3rd; 22.80) at the Brisbane Grand Prix meet on Friday.
In the 100m freestyle, Kenneth To (49.70) qualified fastest for Saturday’s final ahead of world champion Magnussen (3rd; 50.04).
In other major results at the Games warm-up meet, Cate Campbell’s world class 24.33 pipped her sister Bronte (24.78) in the 50m freestyle.
World champion Campbell (53.75) qualified fastest ahead of Bronte (54.22) for Saturday’s 100m final.
Emma McKeon (one minute, 56.99 seconds) was fastest qualifier in the 200m freestyle and Alicia Coutts (2:13.32) in the women’s 200m IM.