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Deakes wants redemption in London
Crystal Ja
06:20 AEST Sat Jul 28 2012

It hurt at the time, but 50km walker Nathan Deakes says his 2011 world championships nightmare has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

And he believes it's given him an added edge heading into his third Games, where his sights are set on the only thing missing from his trophy cabinet: Olympic gold.

The 2007 world champion went to the worlds in Korea last year on the comeback trail after four years of almost uninterrupted injuries.

But in a huge blow, the 34-year-old was forced to withdraw with a bung hamstring despite leading with 12km to go.

It was the same one that shattered his 2008 Beijing dream just two weeks before the start - a Games where he admits the gold was his to lose.

Deakes can look back on Korea now with less loathing.

"Last year was a good learning curve, even at this late stage of my career, about what I can and can't do in the weeks leading into a big race," he told AAP.

"If it had been the Olympics then I probably would have pushed on, but I was reminded about the Olympics and not wanting to do damage that could have put me out for months.

"It was a blessing in disguise that was something we've learnt from and hopefully it will make me a bit more determined."

Deakes is currently training in Zurich to prepare for the 50km walk, which happens on August 11 on a 2km stretch of road outside Buckingham Palace.

He won't arrive in London until August 5, but hours out from the opening ceremony, his triumph in making the Games at all was starting to hit home.

"Seeing Lauren (Jackson) named as the flag bearer who I know quite well and looking on Facebook and seeing other athletes excited, it's the first day I've started to feel it for myself.

"There were times I didn't think I'd get here."

While Deakes' unlucky injury streak hasn't abated - he had a niggle with his knee three weeks ago and did a shin in May - at least his hamstring has been behaving itself.

"The gym's been something I've had to learn to love.

"But touch wood, the hamstring's been good."

Deakes is walking for 50km gold, along with compatriots Jared Tallent and Luke Adams, but also rates the chances of Australia nabbing multiple medals.

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