Seb on track at Commonwealth Games after great escape

Seb Rodger
Seb Rodger

It was a Friday the 13th Eastbourne athlete Seb Rodger will never forget as he feared his Commonwealth Games dream was over before his spikes hit the running track.

Last month, the 23-year-old 400m hurdler was on his way to Bristol Airport to compete at an event in Geneva.

Rodger was travelling in his car at 60mph on-route to the airport when his vehicle was hit by a van.

His car was written off, Rodger was stretchered away from the wreckage and rushed to hospital.

The European under-23 silver medallist suffered whiplash injuries plus a fractured index finger and later admitted he was extremely lucky to be alive.

“The accident shook me up more than I initially thought,” Rodger said.

“The car was a complete write-off and looking back it could have been so much worse for me.

“One minute I was on my way to compete and the next minute I’m strapped to a stretcher and going to the hospital.

“It has been a real up and down year for me but the one thing all this did for me was make me realise why I do this and why I compete.

“My family have been with me through everything and I will be at the Commonwealth Games and competing as hard as I can to make them proud.”

Rodger, who used to play for Eastbourne Rugby Club before turning his attentions to athletics, has already experienced the big stage during his short career.

He reached the semi-final of the 400m hurdles at the Moscow World Championships in 2013 and ran a personal best of 49.19secs to claim silver in the under-23 European Championships held in Finland.

Last year, he moved from Eastbourne to Bath as he was selected by UKA, the national governing body for British Athletics, for the World Class Performance Programme.

There, he has trained and competed alongside the top athletes in Britain and received the very best coaching from Malcolm Arnold and James Hillier.

Rodger added, “Despite everything I feel well prepared. I arrived in Glasgow yesterday (Tuesday) and the atmosphere is just fantastic.

“The Village is unbelievable and the whole preparation for the Games has been great. The support we are receiving up here has blown me and all the other athletes away.”

Rodger’s opening race is on Tuesday and he said he cannot wait to perform on the world stage in front of the TV cameras and a capacity crowd at Glasgow’s Hampden Park Stadium.

“I love the big events and a big crowd, I feel it brings out the best in me.

“The standard is going to be extremely high. I know we lose the Americans and the Russians in the Commonwealth (Games) but the level is high.

“I know I have to go hard from the first race and I will have to run PBs if I am to make an impact.

“If I perform well I know the personal bests will come and we’ll see where that takes me.”

Rodger’s opening race in the 400m hurdles is set for Tuesday, July 29 (between 12.15-12.38pm) with the semi-final scheduled for Wednesday, July 30 (11.30am-11.45am).

The final is to take place Thursday (8.15pm-8.20pm).All his events will be televised live on BBC1.