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Oympic Games: Athletics - Susan faces hurdle heartbreak as bug strikes Ireland camp.

IRISH glamour girl Susan Smith-Walsh is this morning facing a heartbreaking Olympic KO, writes Roy Curtis.

Track star Smith-Walsh was confined to bed after being struck by the mystery bug which has hit the Irish camp.

The 28-year-old Waterford flier needed medical treatment after she reported 'flu symptoms.

"She felt lousy when she woke up and the team doctor had a look at her," said team-manager Patsy McGonagle.

And with just five days to go to the opening heats of the 400m hurdles, the Irish record holder could well be struggling to make it to the start line in what is her farewell event.

Team-mate David Matthews was unable to train for five days after he was laid low by the bug last week.

Smith-Walsh is the only Irish sprinter to have ever qualified for a final at the World Championships - reaching the last eight in the 400m hurdles in Athens three years ago.

Her good looks and flowing blond hair have seen her dubbed the Anna Kournikova of the track.

But the recently married athlete, who has won 13 national titles, will retire in her prime after these Olympics.

Meanwhile, Sonia O'Sullivan will learn tomorrow if she has to go head to head with bitter rival Gabriella Szabo in the 5,000m heats.

The draw for Friday's qualifiers will be finalised early on Wednesday - with the prospect of the big two going head to head.

Sonia will be in action at 8 o'clock on Friday morning Irish time, with the final that all Ireland is awaiting scheduled for next Monday lunch time.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Curtis, Roy
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 19, 2000
Words:263
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