Injured javelin star Gatsioudis to miss Olympics

Javelin thrower Costas Gatsioudis, one of the national track and field team’s prime contenders for a medal at the Athens Olympics, will not compete at the event after failing to shake off a nagging shoulder injury that has troubled the athlete for two years. Gatsioudis, a winner of three World Championship medals – a silver in 1999, and two bronze in 1997 and 2001 – was hoping for his first-ever Olympic medal before a home crowd. The 31-year-old athlete said he would aim to make it for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. «I will try and compete in Beijing. If I’ve overcome this injury, I’ll definitely compete there,» said Gatsioudis, possibly inspired by rival Czech Jan Zelezny’s gold medal at the world championships three years ago as a 35-year-old. Zelezny is preparing to compete at the Athens Olympics, where he will strive for a fourth Olympic gold medal. His latest Olympic setback follows a bout of misfortune in Sydney, where Gatsioudis ended sixth with an 86.53-meter throw after competing with a virus in the final. He had advanced with the qualifying round’s second-best performance throw, 88.41 meters, behind the eventual winner, Zelezny. Gatsioudis went to Sydney with high hopes for gold after registering an impressive 91.69 meter throw, that year’s best, just weeks ahead of the Olympics.