End of Season Waffle

I pretty much scarpered away on holiday straight after my last competition of the season, I litterally went straight off to watch the Newcastle Vipers in Nottingham the night of the competition and never stopped holidaying after that. I’ve had a week touring North East Britain, stopping at York, Durham, Alnwick and Edinburgh, which was extremely enjoyable and relaxing, even if wheelchair friendliness wasn’t a strong point and I reckon the most wheelchair accessible building of the holiday was Edinburgh Castle.

I had a decent enough send off to the 2009 season in Nottingham – threw 32.23 into a slight wind, I hurt my back during the week in training and I thought it had settled down for the comp, but when I took my first practice throw I knew it still wasn’t right. It was a bit frustrating as I wanted to nail this competition, but the performance was very positive and every throw was over 30 metres, my back suffered afterwards but I’ve got plenty of time now to chill out and rest. The result brought my average for the season up to 31.08, which is higher than 2006 and isn’t too bad considering the terrible start I had and the physical and mental challenges I’ve had this year. Here’s a list of all my results this year, the highlight being a good performance at Crystal Palace in the main competition of the season despite being knackered from a 9 hour journey and from taking too many painkillers…

CP Grand Prix 1 Perrivale 18/04/2009 27.98
CP Grand Prix 3 Wigan 20/06/2009 28.91
NE League Meeting Gateshead 15/07/2009 31.60
UKA Disability Challenge Crystal Palace 26/07/2009 32.91
NE League Meeting Jarrow 29/07/2009 29.10
BWAA Nationals Stoke M 08/08/2009 33.16
NEAL Gateshead 12/08/2009 31.70
BWAA GP Stoke M 05/09/2009 32.16
CP Nationals Nottingham 19/09/2009 32.23
Average     31.08


Competition play list:

Digital – Joy Division
Heroes – Roni Size
Jerusalem – BBC Concert Orchestra
Woo Hah! Got You All in Check – Busta Rhymes
Threads – Portishead
A Sense of Rage – Goldie
Rock Star – N.E.R.D.
… for No One – Pull Tiger Tail
Big Love – Pete Heller
Girls Who Play Guitars – Maximo Park
Land of Hope and Glory – BBC Concert Orchestra
Never Had a Dream – Total Science
Auditorium – Mos Def
Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
Protect Ya Neck 2 (The Zoo) – Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Seen You Before – Furney & A Cat Named Phil
Rule Britainia – Della  Jones & BBC Concert Orchestra
Good Souls – Starsailor
You and Me – Goldie
Teletubbies Say ‘Eh-Oh!’ – Teletubbies

Here are some of my favourite pics for my holidays…
















































Image0006Here’s a picture of me and the Bishop at the opening of Cragside’s new first school in Cramlington. Like I said before, I attended the school when it was Southlands middle school in the early 90s. I went round some of the classes before the opening and the kids were great, one of the classrooms I went into was my old classroom and I could even remember where I used to sit, much to the delight of the child sitting there – I was a total teacher’s pet at school. I had the honour of cutting the ribbon with a pair of scissors, which could’ve ended tragically, but I managed it first time and didn’t kill anyone either.

It’s the last Miller-Time of the year on Saturday, I’m competing in the CP Nationals in Nottingham. After that I’m having a week’s holiday, and then I aint got any idea what’s gonna happen – basically.

Speak soon x


Here’s some pictures I did for my Phyio’s new clinic, Penpenny1ny has worked with me at Gateshead’s EIS for about 3 years and has helped me through the hardest and most injury prone years of my life. Whilst working with Penny I won gold in the 2006 IPC World Championships, broke the world record in 2007 and won Silver at the Beijing Paralympics. With the unfortunate demise of EIS, the services at Gateshead are winding down, so Penny has set up her own private clinic within Sunderland University – see www.theperformanceclinic.co.uk – I’m sure it’ll be a big success even though it’s in dirty Mackem land.

Musically Challenged

Forgot to post my competition playlist for last weekend, here it is:

Total Eclipse of the Heart – The Dan Band
She’s Attracted To – The Young Knives
In Yer Face – 808 State
Auditorium – Mos Def
22 Grand Job – The Young Knives
Softly Softy – The Wedding Present
Chop Suey! – System of a Down
Twelve – Forward Russia
Born Slippy – Underworld
Stressed Out – A Tribe Called Quest
Universally Speaking – Red Hot Chillie Peppers
The King of Wishful Thinking – Go West
World in Motion – New Order
Ever Fallen in Love – Buzzcocks
Taxi – Kubichek!
Song About My Dog – Bop
Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler

I’m opening the new Cragside first school in Cramlington tomorrow, the school has moved to the site of my old school – Southlands middle – so it’ll be nice to go back and see how it looks. I’ll be a little sad that Southlands has gone though, had some great times there.

Funny Old Game

One more competition to go in what has probably been the strangest season of my career. For starters I didn’t know if I would compete at all this year due to the big possibility of hip surgery, and it’s the first time since being 15 that I haven’t done a full winter’s training. Yet, as it has turned out I have ended up competing more than most fit and healthy athletes and have done almost twice as many competitions as last year – just for the shear hell of it. It’s really been a case of me thinking ‘we’ll I’m training hard and nothing is happening on the hip front, so I might as well compete while I  can’. Of course I’ve still been focussed and highly motivated, but it’s not an ideal situation for any athlete, this year I’ve had no real big goal to strive for, and I’m a massive advocate for having goals and targets to aspire to. I haven’t been able to plan due to the uncertainty, I’m a real stickler for planning my training so it has been unusual to say the least. And I still have no idea what is going to happen which is very frustrating, especially when you think I competed in Beijing almost a year ago.
On Saturday I threw 32.16m in Stoke Manderville, that was my third best performance this season but I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. It was a competition I only decided to do last minute though, I had to be in London the day before so I thought I might as well stay over and have a chuck in the morning. Typically it was a nightmare journey in and out of London and I was cream crackered on the Friday night. So it was a solid enough performance which looked like being a lot worse when the official told me my first throw was under 30 metres and I only bettered it with my last throw. Ironically all but one of my throws were all over 30 metres so I wasn’t best pleased as I thought I had thrown really crap.
I have a goal for Nottingham in that I want to get a season’s best and break the 34 mark, I’ve been in good consistent form since July so I just need a big throw to finish the season off. I’m currently ranked 4th in the world this year so it’d be nice to get into the top 3.
Note to Capello – I’ve got a few quid on Beckham equalling 125 caps, so please keep handing him caps for doing nowt.

Blips in History

News that the Tunian gold medallist in Beijing competed in the Tunisian national championships back in June, throwing a massive 37.18 metres. That’s a big leap of 1.41 metres from the world record he set in Beijing last September, its a quite unbelievable rate of improvement but not completely surprising given his staggering progression in the two years up to Beijing. I’ve no doubt Mourad will continue to improve up to the World Championships and London 2012, where will it end – Who knows, Mourad is only 25 and seems to have a new lease of life since getting his permanent classification in Beijing. Whether his recent performance will be ratified as a World Record is unclear, but he will probably set further world records at future games. As for me, I carry on as normal, the challenge to improve and to be the best I can be remains the same and always will. It is hard to fathom how someone can progress to being so far ahead of me in such a short space of time, considering I held the world record for 11 years and progressed the event and pushed the boundaries as to what was perceived possible for my classification. As an athlete you know records are made to be broken, but the way the Tunisian is smashing them is unbelievable – its like Usain Bolt – completely out of sync with historic progression. When I set a new World record of 33.53m in Athens, a classifier said if he hadn’t watched the competition, he wouldn’t have believed an F32 could throw that far – now the Tunisian has thrown 3.64 metres over that distance I threw in Athens.

This year my best throw so far has been 33.16, admittedly throwing off one leg, that has me ranked 3rd in the word this year, over 4 metres behind Mourad. I’ve got a couple of competitions left starting this Saturday, and I think I can improve further, but ultimately  I’m very happy with how I’ve performed this year with the problems I’ve had.