London the dream reward for Kwakye

18 April 2012 / 00:06

Injuries are an occupational hazard for athletes, but few are so serious that they necessitate a "destroy and rebuild mission". That was the situation Jeanette Kwakye found herself in just months after finishing sixth in the Olympic 100 metres in Beijing.

Kwakye was the first British woman to make such a final in 24 years and earlier that year had won a silver medal over 60m at the World Indoor Championships. A few months later, the Londoner simply slipped while on a training run in Enfield and suffered a knee injury which ruined her next two seasons.

"My 2009 season was pretty messed up because I had this knee problem that wasn't going, the rehab wasn't working and it was awful," Kwakye said.

"At the end of the 2009 season they decided to operate, which kept me out of the 2010 season. It kept me out for so long, but what it did do was give me a chance to completely start from scratch and make sure my body was as strong as it could be when I did go back to running.

"As an athlete I'm always going to have niggles and small injuries so I'm always prepared for that, but nothing is ever going to be as bad as what I had to go through after the Games."

"I went from being one of the fastest women in the world to not being able to get around a supermarket," Kwakye added. "It was literally a destroy and rebuild-type mission and I had a fantastic team that was able to get me back to where I am now."

Still only 29, Kwakye marked her return by reaching the semi-finals of the World Championships in Daegu last year and won the UK Trials and Indoor Championships in Sheffield in February, although she opted to miss the World Indoors in Istanbul to protect a minor Achilles injury.

Now the focus is firmly on qualifying for the Olympics on home soil this summer, an experience she believes will be priceless.

"It's huge," Kwakye added. "I live a stone's throw away from the stadium itself and I was brought up a mile and a half away.

"To come to the pinnacle of my career where it all started is amazing. You always want to compete in the Olympic Games as a kid and to have it in your own home town is fantastic. It's hard to put into words, but I think it's going to be fantastic."