On Saturday in the Adelaide Advertiser, there was a report about Gold Coast 400m athlete Dylan Grant possibly turning his back on athletics and pursuing an AFL career with the new Gold Coast team. According to Scott Gullan’s article, Grant was disappointed with Athletic Australia’s treatment of him in the lead up to Beijing and was now looking at his options. He feels he would be the fastest player in the AFL and at 193cm and 92kg he has the athleticism to succeed with GC17. The report indicated he was looking for a chance to try out with the newest AFL franchise.
As Scott Gullan is Melbourne based, I’m assuming the report was in the Herald-Sun.
Grant tore his hamstring some time around the end of May. It was pretty bad and looked like ending his chances of getting to Beijing. He was back running within three weeks at about 50% after some intensive 24/7 physio treatment including use of a hyperbaric chamber.
AA gave Grant the ultimatum of making a qualifying time of 46.70 by 3rd August - when the team flew to Beijing. On Monday 28th July in cold, wet and windy conditions Grant ran his first 400m since the injury in 47.0s. His coach Glynis Nunn-Cearns arranged a final trial for Saturday August 2nd. With the aid of some pacemakers Grant stopped the clock at 46.69 - enough to get him on the plane to Beijing.
Whilst he had another 3 weeks - August 22nd to prove his fitness to force a spot in the actual 4 x 400m relay team to run the heat, he was unable to convince the selectors he was in the sub 46.2 shape of others in the squad.
Up until the injury Grant had enjoyed a terrific 4 years of rising through the ranks, culminating with a PB of 45.69s at the Queensland state championships and selection for the Olympic Games. The injury and failure to get a run in Beijing seems to be the first major setback Grant has experienced. Regardless of the sport, it won’t be the last time he suffers a significant injury, so he shouldn’t let it sway his judgement. Hopefully there’s enough wise heads around to help him overcome the disappointment and get back on the horse. He is far too talented to be allowed to walk away from athletics.