Lina Nielsen determined to battle on despite MS battle

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Lina Nielsen determined to battle on despite MS battle
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Nothing was going to stop Lina Nielsen from running in front of a home crowd again, not even the lingering after-effects of a multiple sclerosis flare-up - and that’s the point.

The 400m hurdler took to the start line at the Commonwealth Games for the first time since revealing she had been diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS aged 17.

She took the decision to tell the world the secret only those closest to her previously knew after the condition sabotaged her dreams of a World Championship medal in Oregon last month.

The ramifications of that relapse were still evident as she made her Commonwealth Games debut on Thursday, finishing last in her heat in 58.95 - more than four seconds slower than her personal best.

But considering Nielsen was struggling to even walk just a few days before, the fact she was out on the track at Alexander Stadium at all was testament to her strength of will.

“I’m still navigating recovery,” she said. “I did have right-sided weakness up until about Monday this week, so not long ago. I couldn’t walk normally, I was limping walking my dog in the park.

“I think emotionally to try and suss yourself out for a race it takes a week anyway for a normal athlete to go, ‘hey, we’re racing in a week, make sure you hydrate, recover well’.

“Up until about a week ago, I was like maybe I won’t even race, let’s just try and recover. I’m still trying to recover from the relapse I’ve just had and I’ve also not really trained.”

Such was her determination to experience a home support comparable to the London 2012 Olympics, the Leytonstone runner said she would have competed even if she hadn’t gone public.

“I would have run anyway,” she continued. “It’s a home crowd, the last time we experienced a crowd like this was London 2012 and it’s not something that comes around often.

“It was always the goal for this season to do the Commonwealth Games so the moment I went into training, that was the goal, and I just couldn’t pull out because I’m not 100 percent.

“I’m not 10 percent in shape but I’m not 100 percent either, I’m somewhere in between.

“You know the whole point of sport is going out and giving it your best shot. I went out and gave it my best shot so I’ve got what I want from my Commonwealth Games.”

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