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Decathlete Coertzen back on track after freak injury

20th Commonwealth Games - Day 5: Athletics

Olympic and Commonwealth decathlete Willem Coertzen is ready to puff out his chest and take on the world’s best after a freak training injury, writes Mark Etheridge.
The Potchefstroom-based all rounder was busy doing weight training in the gymnasium when the injury happened.
‘I was doing bench press and because I have a slightly different grip, the weights slipped out of my fingers and fell straight on to my chest. It was 100kg of weight and it came straight down.
‘Luckily the bones and ribs aren’t broken but I’m struggling with bone bruising now,’ Coertzen, who has been strapping up the injury, told Road to Rio 2016.
‘It wasn’t bad at first but got more painful over the next few days. I could still train but definitely not compete. As soon as I tried anything at maximum capacity then it was too sore.
‘It’s not 100% yet but I’m getting there. The physio says it takes almost six weeks to heal properly … very frustrating but at least I can still train. Some days I just push through the discomfort. It can’t get any worse – unless I drop another bar it.’
But Coertzen, as usual, is very positive. ‘I’m happy with where I am now and building it up nicely. I’ve got my first competition at the end of May the Gotzis meeting in Austria. It’s the biggest meeting (after World Championships) for decathletes. All the top decathletes will be there, a really good one,’ concluded the South African record-holder.


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