As promised here are some of the reasons I feel harshly done to by UKA, my last winge on this, honest –
1) Performance – Sure, punish athletes for bad performances and reward athletes for good performances. I can’t think of any way that my performance in Beijing can be classed as bad or poor – 34.37 metres was the furthest I’ve ever thrown in a major competition, 2.5% over my Paralympic Record from Athens 2004 and 5.3% progression from my winning distance in Assen IPC World Championships 2006. I’d been unbeaten in all major championships for 12 years up to Beijing, I have progressed my performances steadily for 12 years and am still improving.
2) Injury – I’ve been having problems with my left hip for about 2 years, it had settled down during last winter and I began the season throwing extremely well in training. However I aggravated the hip in May and couldn’t train properly for the rest of the season. I had to dig deep just to get to Beijing, going through a lot of pain and having two cortisone injections of the way. It makes me even more proud of my performance to think of what I had to go through and what kind of shape I was in – it’s a real kick in the teeth to be dropped in funding after it all for being pipped to gold.
3) Competition – My competition is strong, it has always been strong as it is combined with the F51 class, so I’m always up against the world record holder in that class. There is a lot of strength in depth too, there was 13 in the event and 29 metres was required to get into the top 8 – 29 metres had won bronze in Athens.
4) The Tunisian – Mourad Idoudi has been around in my classification since 2005 when he threw 23metres at the CPISRA World Games, he threw 23 metres again at the IPC World Championships in 2006. At this year’s Paralympic World Cup he had a new way of throwing and threw 32.5 metres. Before the competition I told UKA managers that I was wary of his classification and I asked them to protest but they wouldn’t. He has massive trunk range and power, his performance in Beijing was very unexpected, 35.77m is a 12 metre (33.9%) improvement in two years and isn’t natural progression for a 24 year old. He never warms up for competitions, which is very strange.
5) London 2012 Potential – I’m still ranked number 1 in the world this year with 35.98m, which was not ratified as a world record because there was no doping at the competition, but the competition was IPC ratified. After struggling through injury to get to Beijing I now have time to get myself fully fit for Christchurch and London, when I was fit up to March and April I was throwing consistently 36-38 metres, so I’m confident I can stay ahead of the competition even if the Tunisian stays in my class, which I doubt. I’m going to focus 100% on club which will also help.
An update on my current situation, I’m back in training at last, albeit not full training, and I’m having a hip arthroscopy in January to see whats going on in there. Onwards and upwards.