New Zealand Ironman triathlete Terenzo Bozzone has made the tough call and will miss the Ironman World Championships in Kona this October, with an Achilles injury finally getting the better of him in Germany on the weekend.
Bozzone has made great strides since his fulltime commitment to Ironman distance racing, pushing Cameron Brown to race record pace in Taupo and finishing on the podium in numerous other Ironman and 70.3 half ironman races around the world.
But a nagging Achilles injury has finally put paid to hopes of a strong performance in Kona this year, leading the 26 year old to reassess his immediate plans.
"This past weekend I raced the European 70.3 championships in Wiesbaden Germany. It was an extremely tough course and I was looking forward to testing my fitness. I had run every day for the two weeks leading into the event and while my Achilles was not 100% it was manageable and it didn't seem to be getting inflamed by the running.
"Unfortunately in the race the pain was unbearable, maybe due to the 400 metre uphill run on soft sand into transition. My Achilles started hurting on the bike which was unusual and by the time I started the run every footstep was a sharp pain. It is the only race I can ever recall pulling out of."
The irony in making the decision is that Bozzone had received his invitation to compete at Kona just last week, making his decision to come home even tougher to take.
"I received my invitation to compete in Kona at the World Ironman Championships on the Thursday before the race, so thankfully I scrapped in with enough points. I didn't need to start the race but I thought it would be a good test to see where things were at.
"After long consultations with my Coach and Doctors we have decided that the best course of action moving forward is to go back home to New Zealand and look into different treatment options and get my Achilles back to 100 percent before any long term damage is caused.
"Unfortunately with this injury being around since the beginning of April I have not been able to get the crucial early season training done that is required to build a solid base of fitness. I have taken medical advice and to cram the amount of training now required to be competitive in Kona is taking a significant risk on suffering longer term injury.
"This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make but deep down I know it is the right move for my future. I am only 26 years old and if all goes well I still have another 13-15 years of being at the top of my game. I know I will bounce back next year stronger than ever.
"I will be making the trip to Kona this year to cheer on my fellow athletes and watch the race closely with a different point of view which will be beneficial for when I come back next year."
An obviously disappointed Bozzone thanked his supporters for their help during a tough period but will return home to rest, rehabilitate the injury and prepare for a big season in 2012.
Source: Triathlon New Zealand