Updated: Friday, 07 February 2014 18:51 | By Agence France-Presse

Britain's Pickering suffers double Games heartbreak

Injured former sprinter Craig Pickering spoke Friday of his double Olympic heartbreak after he was forced to pull out of the British bobsleigh team at the Sochi Games -- two years after missing London 2012.

Britain's Pickering suffers double Games heartbreak

Craig Pickering (left) runs to win the Mens 100 metre heats at the British National Championships in Birmingham on July 10, 2008 - by Paul Ellis

Pickering, 27, sustained a back injury on February 2 while training in Germany and returned to Britain for a medical assessment only to be told he was unfit to compete.

"Having missed out on competing at the London 2012 Games due to a back injury I am devastated to have suffered a similar fate just days before the start of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games," Pickering said in a statement.

“We worked so hard to qualify the GBR 2 sled for the Games and I am gutted that I won’t be on the start line.“

Pickering, who won a bronze medal in the 4x100m relay at the 2007 athletics world championships and also represented Britain in the event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, made his World Cup bobsleigh debut in 2013.

He was scheduled to compete in the two-man and four-man bobsleigh events in Sochi.

Gary Anderson, team leader for British Bobsleigh, described Pickering as a "model athlete" and said his injury was a big blow for the team.

"I spoke with him just after we heard from the doctors and he was clearly very upset. He had worked so hard to get to the point of selection for Sochi.

“Craig is a very professional athlete and his concern for the team illustrated that. We had Craig sent back to the UK from our preparation camp in Germany to confirm the original diagnosis but it was pretty clear from the outset that this was going to be tough for him."

Anderson said the coaches would decide on what changes to make to the team.

"We are fortunate that we have a fantastic squad, which has strength and depth, so we know that whoever replaces Craig will put in a credible performance for Team GB."

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