Andrew Butchart: Scot 'will come back stronger' after Gold Coast blow

Andrew Butchart gestures towards Mo Farah competes at the 2017 World Championships
Andrew Butchart finished eighth in last year's World Championships 5,000m final as Mo Farah bowed out with silver

Andrew Butchart says "he'll come back mentally stronger" from the broken foot which has ruled him out of April's Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The Scottish 5,000m runner broke his navicular bone while competing in an indoor race in New York this month.

The 26-year-old is currently recovering at home in Dunblane after undergoing surgery on the fracture on Monday.

"This is going to make me a much better athlete in the long term; I'm going to learn a lot from this injury," he said.

"I'm looking forward to coming back and being a new Andy Butchart."

Butchart, a product of the Central Athletic Club in ‎Stirling, is determined to stay positive, despite missing out on what would have been his first Commonwealth Games.

"Because it's been such a big build-up, and I've been at the forefront of the build-up with [girlfriend and 800m runner] Lynsey (Sharp), it's quite hard because I keep seeing my face around and it feels like a bit of a lie because I'm not going to be there," he told BBC Scotland.

Andrew Butchart and Lynsey Sharp
Butchart and girlfriend Lynsey Sharp helped launch Scotland's uniforms for the Commonwealth Games

"It's annoying because I wanted to be part of Team Scotland, and part of the atmosphere and go to Australia, but things happen every day, and things change. You've got to think positively. I'll move forward and I'll be fine."

'I started bawling, thinking this is so bad'

Butchart, who moved to San Diego, California, towards the end of last year, admits he shed tears when he learned how serious his injury was.

"When the phone call came and the doctor told me that it was a fracture, because no-one had told me it could have been a fracture it was a bit of a shock. You're just shattered, in bits.

"I was in Harvard at the time. I had just finished a bike session, and Lynsey was on the bike next to me. I started bawling, and thinking this is so bad. Everyone in the room knew what the prognosis was straight away."

Butchart's frustration was heightened by his belief he could have won a 5,000m medal on the Gold Coast, having finished sixth in the Olympic final at Rio 2016.

"The Kenyan team was released yesterday, and it's a weakened field," he told BBC Scotland. "So I know that I was on the way towards a medal. It annoys me a bit more that the medal was a lot closer than we thought."

Butchart admits he doesn't really know how he picked up the injury, but coming off the bank of the indoor track he "hit the flat surface and felt it go."

Andrew Butchart with his right foot in a protective boot
Butchart posted a picture of himself with a protective boot after revealing his injury

With 500m to go, he finished the race, but was in pain as soon as he crossed the finish line.

The Scot has been told to rest completely for two weeks, but plans to return to the United States in around four weeks to continue his rehabilitation.

He is unsure if he will travel to Australia to support Sharp and the rest of the Scottish squad, or be forced to watch the event on television.

"I'll be back in San Diego when the Games are on with the rehab team out there, and I'll be watching them. If I can fly out, if everything goes really, really well and I'm back walking and able to do things, I'll be the first one on the flight. It'll be a last-minute thing, I'll decide on the day.

"But I am the most important person right now. I've just got to look after myself and make sure it all goes to plan."

'I've got to stay positive'

"I've got a lot of friends in the 5,000m in the Commonwealth Games, so I'll be cheering them on, and hopefully they can win a medal. I'm excited to watch the race, it's going to be a good event.

"I don't feel disheartened by not going, everything happens for a reason. I've got to stay positive, and I'm sure I'll enjoy the games, and I'll enjoy watching Scotland win many, many medals."

Butchart plans to work on "his weaknesses" while he's in rehab, such as his flexibility and ability to prevent injury in future.

But when he returns to the track, he insists his "aspirations will be high, doing as much as I can to win the medals and set the records".

"I think it'll be more of a mental gain," he added. "I'm going to have to work a lot in the pool, on the bike and cross-trainer, so I think that's going to make me a lot mentally tougher."

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