Pittman wants to run to 800m at 2014 Games
By Paul Mulvey
May 29, 2012
Former world hurdles champion Jana Pittman has not given up on athletics and is aiming to run the 800m at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The injury-plagued Pittman says while she's contemplating a switch to rowing, she wants to give athletics one more go, even if it means stepping away from her pet 400m hurdles to run the 800m.
Her athletics future looked bleak when a foot injury forced her out of Australia's Olympic trials in March and national championships a month later.
She's been unable to run for more than three months, so is rowing four times a week for fitness and as a potential backup career.
"My heart is still in athletics, so I'm not sure whether I'm going to transfer completely yet," she said on Tuesday.
"At the moment I'm using rowing as cross training and if I cannot get back to running, I'll consider it."
The 2003 and 2007 world 400m hurdles champion will decide within months whether she'll persist with her plans for the 800m at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games or switch to rowing.
"If in three months time I still can't run, then I have to say that's no more athletics," she said.
"If you take more than seven months out of running, it's very, very hard to get back to the top level."
As reigning world champion both times, a knee injury ruined her Olympic campaign in Athens in 2004 and an injured toe forced her out of the Beijing Games four years later.
The 29-year-old doesn't want injury to determine her athletics career.
"My first goal is to make the Commonwealth Games in the 800m," she said.
"I'm going to try to leave hurdles for two years because of the injury component of it.
"I just don't want it to end on this note. I want it to end on a high, even a small high like the Commonwealth Games."
But the 800m will be a tough event in Glasgow, with six of this year's 10 fastest athletes coming from Commonwealth countries.
If she does turn to rowing after years of an event which takes less than a minute, Pittman says a two-kilometre race over seven minutes is well beyond her at this stage.
She knows she'll need a couple of years of solid work in a boat if she's to emulate Kim Crow, another 400m hurdler turned rower who is a strong medal chance in the double sculls at the London Games.
"They'll tell me if I'm any good or not," she said.
"I've never done it before, it's very technical, it's a slow process.
"Kim Crow picked it up so well, she's such a quality athlete to pick it up so quickly."