Injury hangs over Radcliffe's marathon hopes

LONDON Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:03am EDT

Paula Radcliffe of Britain holds her leg after crossing the finish line of the 2009 New York City Marathon November 1, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Paula Radcliffe of Britain holds her leg after crossing the finish line of the 2009 New York City Marathon November 1, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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LONDON (Reuters) - World record holder Paula Radcliffe risks further Olympic heartbreak with her chances of competing in the marathon in London hanging by a thread due to injury, British media reported on Thursday.

"Shall we flip a coin?," UK athletics head coach Charles van Commenee was quoted as saying when asked whether the 38-year-old would be fit for her fifth and final Games.

"She has been walking a thin line every day for a decade, nothing has changed," he said. "Paula is always a concern."

Radcliffe suffered a flaring of osteoarthritis in her left foot a few weeks ago when she flew to Munich to see celebrity sports doctor Hans Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfart.

The Briton has never won an Olympic medal and has been dogged by bad luck at previous Games.

She was forced to drop out of the 2004 Athens marathon through illness and injury. She finished 23rd in Beijing after her preparations were also hampered by injury.

Last April she ended a half marathon in Vienna in tears after a slow time in a head-to-head with Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, who had a seven minute 52 second handicap.

"The thing that worries me is that I did not feel myself out there while running," she said afterwards. "The danger is that it affects my confidence." (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer)

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