Irish marathon runner Stephen Scullion has announced that he will be attending the Tokyo Olympic Games after he withdrew last week
The runner, who has a marathon PB of 2:11.52, previously said he would not be going as he needed to work on his mental health.
Scullion announced in a tweet last night that he will be attending the Tokyo Olympics after all. Various events led to his decision to withdraw, none of which were linked to running or high expectations around the Games, he said.
'As a kid I was abused in ways a kid shouldn't be,' he said, 'and I was taught if I didn't perform on race days I was bad, or punished... I thought making a decision to withdraw myself from the Olympics it [sic] would punish the person who had hurt me'.
After an outpouring of support from social media users and fans following his initial decision, Scullion chose to reverse course. He spoke with the Olympic Federation of Ireland and Team Ireland, he said, and decided he would attend the games.
'I'll see you all in Tokyo, and I'll know [sic] longer believe I'm a bad person,' he said.
Rob Heffernan, an Irish race walker who won gold at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, offered his support to Scullion. 'Drive on champ,' he wrote. Karen Kane McLaughlin said, ' Always admired you as an athlete but now even more. Thanks for showing your vulnerability, the one a lot of us try to hide. Wishing you every success. Run your own race now for you'.
Scullion secured his qualifying time of 2:11:52 at the Houston Marathon last year, where he finished in fifth place. At the London Marathon last October, Scullion ran the second-fastest marathon time in Irish athletics history - his time of 2:09:49 is just 34 seconds slower than John Treacy’s record.
Scullion had announced last weekend that he would not be travelling to Tokyo this summer to run in the men's marathon, as he needed time to work on his mental health.
In a Twitter post, the runner wrote: 'I will not be going to Tokyo Olympics, & until I feel in a better place with mental health I am taking some time to myself. I apologise to anybody who has supported me until now and feels lets down. Sometimes in life you have to do what is right, and I need to find a happy place.'
Other runners shared their support for Scullion's decision at the time, with six time Paralympian Noel Thatcher commenting, 'Wishing you all the best. Put yourself and your happiness first.'
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