Alistair Richardson back for 49er duty

After months of recovery due to serious injuries Alistair Richardson plans his comeback in Hyeres Olympic Regatta

Wednesday April 11th 2001, Author: Lynsey Thomas, Location: United Kingdom
When Alistair Richardson injured his hand whilst wind surfing last year, no-one could have predicted the extent of the damage, and not even he was willing to believe what this would mean to his Olympic campaign.

Well known for his zest for life and love of extreme sports, Alistair had taken a day out from his 49er sailing to go windsurfing in some very scary conditions to practise his freestyle wind surfing tricks. A few hours later he was in hospital with his hand so badly injured it needed to be rebuilt with metal plates and pins.

Several months later and with the hand well on its way to recovering, Alistair went sledging, hit a fence and snapped the cruciate ligament in his knee. Alistair explained: "The ligaments in my knee had to be replaced and so I had several grafts taken from my body which had to be pinned into place." He added: "The trouble with having the ligaments pinned into your body is that you have to learn to grow into them; the role of the ligament is to provide stability when you walk, I can only describe the experience as trying to put your foot to the floor and it feeling as though your leg is going to fall off."

But there is light at the end of the tunnel: "I have seen the doctor today and he has just given me the all-clear to start sailing again. I'll still be sailing with Peter Greenhalgh and we're going to make our comeback in Hyeres. I've been doing some pretty intense training to get my knee up to full strength; two to three hours a day at the gym, five times a week. The doctors are very impressed at the speed at which I've recovered. It's going to be full-on from now on in - hopefully to Athens 2001."

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