rio.2016Dual Olympic champion Grant Hackett said Thursday he would go after a place in the Australian team for next year’s Rio Olympics.

Hackett, 35, who is in Australia’s relay team for this month’s world championships in Russia, his first world championships since 2007, said he would contest the Rio trials next year after becoming convinced he could again handle the rigours of training.

“It is more of a commitment to the sport,” Hackett told a sponsor’s gathering.

“For me, it goes beyond the world championships now.

“I will certainly be looking forward to the Olympic trials next year.

“It is something that I’ve been hesitating committing to because I really wasn’t sure how my body was going to hold up all through this or whether I could actually get the times or even had a realistic time frame to be competitive.

“I have been able to tick a few boxes there – now I want to see where I can take it.”

Hackett believes the Australian team is a medal chance in his event, the 4x200m freestyle relay at the Kazan world titles.

“It doesn’t matter what it looks like on paper, it’s the results at the end of the day. I think a great example is the (favourites Australia) 4x100m relay at the London Olympics (which missed the podium),” Hackett said.

“But we’ve got some experienced guys, and the general culture on the team is quite strong and focused on getting the performance we believe we deserve.

“A medal is a definite possibility.”

Hackett qualified for the world titles 4x200m relay squad in April’s national trials – his first major meet since the 2008 Olympics.

He walked away from the sport in 2008 after winning the 1500m freestyle at both the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics, and claiming four world titles in the event. He won silver in the event at the Beijing Olympics. – Agence France-Presse

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