By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year
June 30 - Australia's double world champion Jana Rawlinson (pictured) has reopened speculation that she plans to switch her allegiance to run for Britain at the London 2012 Olympics by announcing today that she has withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October.
The chances of Rawlinson, the 2003 and 2007 world 400 metres hurdles champion, switching to compete for Britain appeared to diminish earlier this week after Athletics Australia performance director Eric Hollingsworth claimed that he had spoken to her and she had assured him she had no plans to change her nationality and that she hoped to return in time to run in the Commonwealth Games, where she would have been seeking a third consecutive title.
But by pulling out of the Games in New Delhi so early when they are not due to begin until October 3 will leave doubt in the minds of many Australians.
"I am not competing at the Commonwealth Games," Rawlinson told the Daily Telegraph in Sydney from her home in Loughborough, where she lives with her Yorkshire-born husband Chris, formerly Britain's top-ranked 400m hurdles runner.
Rawlinson last month underwent a minor operation in Holland on a tender achilles tendon and claimed her recovery had not progressed as quickly as anticipated and the surgeon had told her not to run for six weeks.
"I could probably push it and come third or fourth but, as the reigning champion, I don't see the point of that and I don't want to sacrifice my long-term health," Rawlinson told the Daily Telegraph.
"I'm disappointed because it's another year of injury but I want to get to London [to run in the Olympic Games]."
Under International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules any athlete that wants to change allegiance must not compete in international competition for three years and must be a citizen of the new nation they wish to represent.
Rawlinson has already applied for a British passport and she has not represented Australia since the 2007 World Championships in Osaka.
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