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Aussie 100m runner Clarke out of Rio Games

AAP logoAAP 29/07/2016 By John Salvado

Australian sprinter Josh Clarke has withdrawn from the 100m at the Rio Olympics, having run out of time to return to peak form following a hamstring injury early this year.

Clarke, 21, hurt his hamstring tendon in the race in Canberra in February where he bettered the Olympic qualifying standard with a personal best of 10.15 seconds.

Although he has recovered from the injury, the Sydneysider and his coach Nancy Atterton decided he was not in the sort of shape to perform at his peak at the Rio Games against two-time defending champion Usain Bolt.

"Despite an outstanding effort by my team and an extensive rehabilitation program, I feel I have run out of time to reach the standard of performance that I believe is required for an event of this calibre," said Clarke.

"It was an extremely difficult decision and I am grateful for the ongoing support that I have received."

Australian athletics head coach Craig Hilliard said it was a devastating result for Clarke, his coaches and his family.

"Unfortunately time has not been his friend and in the best interests of his long-term career he has decided to withdraw," said Hilliard.

"This is a courageous decision, he has chosen to look to his future rather than focusing on an immediate outcome which is never easy."

Australia has not had a representative in the Olympic blue-riband men's sprint since Josh Ross made it through to the quarter-finals at the 2004 Athens Games.

But Australia still has an interest in the other three flat sprints in Rio with Alex Hartman entered in the men's 200m and Melissa Breen (100m) and Ella Nelson (200m) qualified in the women's races.

Clarke's 100m PB of 10.15 has him ranked fifth on the Australian all-time list headed by the retired Patrick Johnson (9.93).

Clarke's withdrawal means Australia will send a 60-strong athletics team to Rio.

The track and field squad is preparing for the Games at a camp in Bradenton, Florida.

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