Thorpe & Radcliffe Out Of CWG

LONDON, March 7 : World marathon champion Paula Radcliffe and superstar swimmer Ian Thorpe have both pulled out of this month’s Commonwealth Games, depriving the 71-nation event of two of its biggest stars.
England’s Radcliffe announced her withdrawal because of a foot injury which has restricted her training just hours after Thorpe had revealed that he would not be competing in Melbourne because of illness.
Radcliffe, winner of the 5000 metres gold medal at the last Games in Manchester four years ago, had been a strong favourite to win the 10,000m this time around while Thorpe was widely expected to add to the ten gold medals he collected at Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and Manchester in 2002.
Thorpe and Radcliffe were arguably the two best-known figures among the 4,500 contestants due to be in Melbourne for the March 15-26 Games.
Radcliffe, 32, has been suffering from the foot injury since January and has been unable to prepare properly on the track at her training base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, her husband and manager, Gary Lough, revealed.
Paula hit a rock when out training and developed a bruised foot and it is taking a long time to settle down,'' Lough said. In particular it has been causing problems on the track, constantly flaring up and she cannot do proper flat-out training sessions.
It reared up again at the end of January and we feel it would be stupid, too much of an unnecessary risk, to compete in Melbourne.'' Thorpe, a five-time Olympic gold medallist, pulled out because he felt that a recent bout of bronchitis and a viral infection had left him too weak to compete. It was difficult coming to terms with not being able to compete but it was, in the end, the only decision I could come to,’’ Thorpe said.
Thorpe, who is returning from a lengthy lay-off following the 2004 Athens Olympics, said he had tried to push himself for the past three weeks but had realised after training on Monday that he would have been well below his best.
His decision to pull out means he may not take part in another Commonwealth Games as he has hinted that he might retire after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Thorpe won four gold medals at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and six in Manchester in 2002.
Although Radcliffe’s track work has been disrupted, she has been able to carry on with her preparations for the London marathon on April 23.
Radcliffe’s career has frequently been blighted by injury. She missed both the 1994 and 1998 Commonwealth Games and her dreams of an Olympic marathon gold medal in Greece in 2004 were shattered when she was forced to abandon the race.