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Thorpe making progress after broken hand

Written by: Staff
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MELBOURNE, May 11 (Reuters) Australia's five-times Olympic champion Ian Thorpe says his training program before the 2008 Beijing Games remains on course despite breaking his hand in a domestic accident last month. ''My hand's a bit sore in the pool but I'm on the right track now,'' the 23-year-old told reporters.

''I think I've got my bad luck out of the way,'' he said at a training camp in Queensland.

Thorpe's career has hit a rut since winning gold in the men's 200m and 400m at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

He opted to take a break from the sport after those successes and intended to make his international comeback at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in March but he was struck down by glandular fever and forced to withdraw.

He then had a screw inserted into his hand after a fall at home in April and was instructed not to return to the pool until the wounds healed fully.

Thorpe made his first tentative strokes back in training in Sydney last week and plans to step up his program before next year's world championships in Melbourne and the 2008 Olympics.

''I'm not at competition speed or form at the moment so I'm trying to make up for lost time.'' he said. ''I hope and I think in three months I'll be swimming well again.'' Thorpe said he was unlikely to race over the longer distances and still planned to ditch the 400m, an event in which he is also a three-times world champion, in favour of focusing on the 100m.

''Shorter's almost more definite than longer at the moment,'' he said.

''I've got to race first in some minor meets and then probably around October we'll make our decision on what I'll be swimming in the next 12 months. It will be based towards Beijing.'' He is expected to make his competitive return in a meeting in Barcelona on June 10-11 before heading for the U S for the Grand Prix event in Santa Clara, California later in the month.

REUTERS PG DS1010

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