Australia has suffered another body blow in the lead up to this week’s ITU World Triathlon Championship Grand Final in London with the announcement today that Felicity Abram has been forced out of the Australian team after being told not to run for five weeks.
Abram, at 28, a veteran of over 10 years on the Australian team, is on crutches with her right foot in a moon boot after MRI scans showed bone stress in both her heels.
It follows last week’s news that Olympic bronze medallist Erin Densham, who needed the advice of her support team and Triathlon Australia and succumbing to ongoing medical issues, had withdrawn from the team.
The loss of the experienced Abram and Densham leaves Olympians Emma Moffatt and Emma Jackson and rising star Ashleigh Gentle to fly the Aussie flag.
Moffatt is coming off her confidence-boosting win in the Des Moines Triathlon in Iowa, Jackson after her sterling performance in Kitzbuehel to win silver and seventh in Hamburg and Gentle who is the highest ranked Australian on seventh place, one ahead of Moffatt on the ITU Rankings.
Gentle has had her best season yet, finishing fourth in Yokohama, fifth in Hamburg and ninth in both San Diego and Kitzbuehel.
Triathlon Australia’s Performance Director Bernard Savage said it was important for Abram to head home to Australia for a full assessment.
“Felicity and I have spoken about what we think is best for her and she agrees that time back in Australia will be the best tonic,” said Savage.
“It is very disappointing for her and the team as she had put together some good races, particularly her season opening third in Auckland and an encouraging fifth in Madrid.
“She will still be in London to cheer on the team and that’s important.”
Abram, sitting in 10th place on the ITU World Rankings after an eye-catching season, has revealed that an MRI finally provided her with answers to her on-going foot pains that has forced her to curtail her preparations in recent weeks and forced her withdrawal from Stockholm.
The MRI showed the English-based Queenslander was suffering from bone stress to both her Calcaneous or heel bones and doctors have told her she won’t be able to run for five weeks.
“Sadly my season is over now. It’s far from the best diagnoses but finally (I have) some answers and actually a relief that I wasn’t going insane,” Abram said on her website.
“To say I’m gutted to have to missed the Grand Final is an understatement. London has been my goal for a very long time.
“Primarily because it’s our Commonwealth Games selection race. Up until a week ago I was quite optimistic that I could still race the swim /bike and just not be run fit, although after another trial jog I got more and more disheartened and sought the scans.
“However I will be going to cheer on the team, my training mates & my mum Louisa who is racing the Age Group Sprint race.
“Although I quite possibly call Yorkshire home at the moment, I might be lacking in some much needed Vitamin D right now so I’ll probably head home back to Australia for a good while,
“I hope to be back and in form for next year. But for the moment I must heal my heels.”