Veteran Foster resists temptation of a big comeback

Six-time world champion Mark Foster has confirmed he will not attempt a comeback for the London Olympics.

The celebrated 50 metre sprint-freestyle specialist came out of retirement for the Beijing Games and, at the age of 38, was the Team GB flag bearer in 2008.

But Foster said: “There comes a time when you would rather walk away than hobble away.” As recently as September Foster had suggested that he might still attempt to qualify for a sixth Olympic Games.

“I was tempted, many times, and I never announced I was retiring [after Beijing] because I always wanted to keep the door open,” the 41-year-old added. “I’ve been to five Olympics but I would have given them all up for one shot to be at London.

“I know I could make the team and be in the top two in the country but would I do anything? No, I’d probably make the semi-finals, maybe.”

After success at world, European and Commonwealth level, the only honour to elude the three-time world record holder was an Olympic medal, which Foster admits he would have been best-placed to achieve in Athens 2004.

The freestyler missed out on the qualification mark by 0.05 seconds and, despite claiming that a shoulder injury had hampered his preparations, Foster’s appeal was turned down.