Archive for February, 2009

The Future of Seated Throws

Haven’t posted since my operation last Thursday but there’s not much to report. Sadly the arthroscopy was unable to be performed as my hip is too badly worn and the prognosis is that I’m going to need a hip replacement sooner or later. Hopefully some decisions will be made in the near future.

The IPC conference is coming up soon and the main topic of conversation is the future of seated throws and what to do with the lifting rule. I’m just a mere athlete so no one cares what I think, but for the record and  because I’m a self-obsessed little Nazi, here’s what I think…

I’m very concerned about the state of seated  throws, in fact I’m concerned about the state of disability throws in general, particularly in the CP classes. I’ve noticed an alarming trend recently in the way athletes with CP are being classified and I don’t think the lifting law has anything to do with the problems. Lower disability athletes are being pushed out of the sport because athletes with minimal disability are being put into classes they simply shouldn’t be in.

 To say that typical class 7s are now unable to compete in the class 7 classification and should be allowed to compete sitting down is very alarming – surely you are either a class 7 or you’re not, and if you’re not competitive then its just tough luck. It’s already happened in the class 5s, in that typical class 5s aren’t competitive anymore in that class, so to keep numbers in the sport IPC has allowed them to compete as class 4s, meaning that typical class 4s are no longer competive. It all filters down and where does it end? Its going to end where the seated classes are for ambulant athletes who aren’t competitive in their ambulant class.

 I’m now basically competiting against class 6s and borderline 3s and 4s that are competing as 2s, and typical 2s aren’t competitive – I’m holding on by the skin of my teeth but in Beijing I was told I needed to get reclassified as a 1, which I just found was crazy. I find the whole thing crazy, the classification system has slipped as IPC try to accomodate more able athletes who can throw futher and who look good on TV, the way it is now they might as well rip up the classification system and start again, as genuine seated throwers are being pushed out, just like CP 3 and 4 wheelies were a while ago.

 On the lifting rule I think taking out the rule that part of the upper thigh should remain in contact with the frame was a mistake, but I agree that athletes should start the throw in a seated position, it should be the start of the throw and not the start of a wind up, where an athlete goes forward to come back again – I feel this would be fairly easy to enforce. Of course the easiest way to sort out the lifting law would be to say athletes must keep both buttocks in contact with the seat for the duration of the throw – but I doubt IPC would agree to restricting their ambulant seated throwers in such a way – but do we want fair competition or big distances?

I always thought I had helped to opened the door for lower disabilities to compete in athletics but it looks like the door is being shut.

Searches for this Blog

I’ve just been looking through the stats for my blog, I get a steady but not massively huge traffic flow, but the thing I find m0st interesting is the section that summarises what people have typed into search engines to end up on your blog, some of mine are pretty bizarre to say the least. Here’s a selection of my favourites:

- “stephen miller paralympian gay”
– “in a bad balloon”
– “I hate disabled people”
– “widdleplop”
– “widdleplop farm”
– “clubber tits”
– “susan hanson sucks”

If you typed any of these into Google, I really do hope you get cured, and if you are Susan Hanson, I’m sure you don’t suck.

Just to confirm, I’m only 40% gay, so therefore cannot be officially referred to as ‘gay’ – My legal people are watching!

Doping It Up

charity2

Here’s me with Derek, I went along to Dunston Social Club to help out with his charity night in aid of the Northern Gynaecological Oncology Centre, who paid my wages for a while a long time back. Derek raised over £3,000 doing the coast to coast bike ride.

I went to see Jimmy Carr last night and I’m pretty sure 99% of his jokes are unsuitable for this blog, and I can’t really can’t really remember most of them, but he did say that he couldn’t see the point in legalising drugs because it wouldn’t make them any cheaper – can’t argue with him there. It brings me onto the hot topic in sport at the moment – no, not the sickening amount of England caps David Beckham’s got – its the new anti-doping rules in force from WADA as from 1st of January. Athletes from all sports on the anti-doping register must now provide whereabouts including a one-hour testing slot everyday of the year, even when on holiday. This has received widespread criticism from athletes as high profile as Rafa Nadal, and threat of legal action from some sections.

I am on the register and have so far had no intrusions into my privacy, though I suspect disability sport is pretty low on the priority of regular testing. UK Sport have employed a system for a few years of supplying an hour testing slot for 5 days a week, and if you were on holiday you wouldn’t be tested, it seemed to work pretty well. Under the new system, even if you’re on holiday you have to supply a daily testing slot, which I think is well over the top and I can’t think of any job where you aren’t entitled to holidays. You also have to provide daily residence and training detail so you can be tested outside the designated testing slot, which I think is crazy – As Kelly Sotherton said to me, they might as well just tag us all with GPS.

Of course WADA’s response is to ask whether we want drug-free sport or not, and of course we do but is this really going to erradicate drugs for good? I’m not so sure. I know one thing, if the drug tester had knocked on my hotel door whilst on my R&R weekend in Belfast I wouldn’t have been impressed, but at least I know alcohol is a drink, not a drug.

One last thing, I wonder if Micheal Phelps had submitted his whereabouts when he was hitting the bong.

This and That

Not long until my operation now which is on the 19th February. All being well I’m aiming to start competing in June but it’s just a case of waiting and seeing what’s going on in my hip before we can make any definate plans. I’m very optimistic about the future and this is like a fresh start for me, it’s the longest break from serious training I’ve had for 13 years and I think that will do me good. My mum is now my main coach following Ray’s retirement after Beijing, and I have a new strength & conditioning coach, so it definately is a new start for me.

This season is a bit flat with there being no major but that’s probably a good thing after the intensive build up to Beijing. I’ve been keeping myself as fit and strong as possible in preparation for the op, but still been enjoying my more relaxed schedule – I’m in Belfast this weekend for some R&R which I’m really looking forward to having had no holiday last year at all.

The indoor athletics season has started and Dwain Chambers is already getting on my nerves, he’s got some gob on him – you’d think he’d just keep his head down and just get on with it, but he just loves bringing attention on himself. He seems to want people to feel sorry for him, which is pretty hard to do as he deliberately took drugs and when he got caught he proclaimed ‘you cannot be successful in sport without taking drugs’, of course now he has since seen the light and has a new message that ‘drugs are bad’ and he wants to be a shining example. It’s too late I’m afraid, for years he competed and won medals and broke records knowing he had an unfair advantage, and the thing that shouldn’t be forgotten is that he will still now be benefiting from the training he did whilst on performance enhancing drugs, his body shape changed dramatically in that time. The current stance is that everyone deserves a second chance but in Dwain’s case I don’t think he does. I don’t think he’s doing himself or the sport any favours.

I’m speaking in Newbiggin tonight, as long as a ton of snow doesn’t turn up this afternoon, it’s their Community Sports Conference, should be good crack. In the morning I’m being interviewed as part of an independent review of UKA – So what will I be saying?

1) More individual approach to athlete development, instead of just grouping event/discipline groups together.

2) Move away from HiPac culture, more respect for individual coaches, recognising that being in a comfortable environment and working with a coach you believe in and trust, is better than being made to move to work with the ‘top’ coach.

3) More senior athlete/coach involvement in decisi0n making regarding camps and competitions.

4) Better balance of coaches/care/support staff in squad teams. Also better treatment of personal coaches at major competitions.

5) Realistic performance targets for individual athletes, better understanding of events and expected outcomes.

Probably a lot more stuff…


Hello



Stephen Miller
Paralympic Athlete/Web Developer
www.stephenjamesmiller.co.uk
hailfabio@hotmail.com
Cramlington, Northumberland, UK

I've been competing in international athletics for over 10 years. Taking part in 4 Paralympic Games and winning 5 medals including 3 golds, a silver and a bronze. I dapple in a bit of web development in between my training, working in the NHS and freelance.

I do a fair bit of public speaking and appearances, feel free to contact me if you think I could be of use.

I've wrote a book titled 'Paralympian', which you can check out here

On this blog there'll be a mish-mash of my general ramblings and bad poetry, feel free to leave comments and stuff.

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