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Sick Thorpe remains doubt for Commonwealth Games

Written by: Staff

SYDNEY, Mar 2 (Reuters) Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe is struggling to shake off a bout of illness that has disrupted his preparations for this month's Commonwealth Games.

Thorpe is due to compete in five events in Melbourne but has been unable to train for the past fortnight after contracting bronchitis.

The swimmer has been unable to take drugs that could help clear up the problem because the medication is on the banned list and has been undergoing further tests to determine if he is suffering from other health problems, including chronic fatigue syndrome.

His manager Dave Flaskas told Australian media today that Thorpe was still hopeful of competing at the Games but may have to cut back on his programme.

Thorpe was planning to swim the 100 metres and 200m freestyle and three relays.

He won four gold medals at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and a further six in Manchester four years ago and needs just one more to become the most successful athlete in Commonwealth Games history.

''We haven't got a lot of time but I think what it now probably entails is a review of his programme,'' Flaskas said.

''Ian is really desperate to swim at these Games so we're trying to be as positive as possible.

''It's knocked him around because he hasn't been able to train flat out for a couple of weeks.'' Flaskas said Thorpe had raced in the past when he was feeling ill and he was hopeful he would still be able to perform well at the Melbourne Games, which run from March 15-26.

''He's raced through problems before but obviously it's not a great preparation,'' he said.

''He hasn't progressed as well as everyone has hoped over the last week.

''We're hoping over the next 48 hours things improve but it is a real concern at the moment and is being closely monitored by doctors.'' REUTERS DH RAI0732

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