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SIDEBAR Olympic silver caps long road back to health for James

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Becky James collected an Olympic silver medal Saturday to complete her fight back from two years plagued by a cancer scare, and knee and shoulder injuries.

"It has been a tough 18 months," James told the BBC straight after the final of the women‘s keirin which she lost to Elis Ligtlee of the Netherlands. "I would never have believed I was going to the Olympics eight months ago. A year ago I could have quit, this win is for everyone that has helped me."

In a scandal-clad Olympics dominated by tales of doping, the 24-year-old James‘ story is the sort of fightback which draws people to the Games.

A routine smear test in 2014 revealed she needed an operation to remove cells which would like turn into cancer and after the surgery, a knee injury halted her progress for months until well into 2015.

Even then when James could start cycling again, after months of rehab, she was promptly sidelined once more with a shoulder injury which required keyhole surgery.

"I was stuck at back and didn‘t know when to make my move," James said just after being beaten in the final. "I left it 50 metres too late for gold."

But any question of being disappointing at losing gold was soon forgotten in an emotional celebration with her family at the side of the track.

"It was so special, I have 10 of my family here - my mum has never been on a long-haul flight," she said. "I have had so much support from British Cycling, it has been a tough two years and I couldn‘t have done it without everyone‘s help.

"I am over the moon. I‘m lost for words."

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