This month had started in the most perfect way, with Newcastle beating Sunderland 5-1, it was probably the best match I’ve ever been to. The atmosphere was electric and I don’t think anybody thought we would win by such a big margin, I certainly didn’t. Unfortunately the month hasn’t ended so well as I’ve been stuck in the house for two days now, wheelchairs don’t do snow I’m afraid and there’s loads of it here in Cramlington. I hope it clears up pretty soon because there’s only so much training you can do in the house, there’s definitely no way I can throw clubs in here – although I have got Mario & Sonic Olympic Games on the Wii so I can kind of practice throwing on that. Whoever decided to put the World Championships on in January has a lot to answer for.

How I wish I was still in Portugal, I went there with my coach and mum Ros for nine days earlier this month for warm weather training. We went to Monte Gordo which is in the Algarve right on the Spanish border, there’s a big athletics complex there and a lot of the top athletes in Europe go to train at it. The weather was really good nearly all of the time we were there, the only day it did rain I was in the gym so I wasn’t bothered. It was a great camp, very relaxed and chilled out, the complex was quiet so we were never rushed or cramped. I worked very hard and did a lot of throwing, which was the whole point of being there really, I trained 3-4 hours a day apart from one day when I trained from 10am til 3pm. It has got me in very good shape for the final few weeks until I go to New Zealand, I just hope I’m going to be able to do some training in the meantime – damn English weather. I’ve attached some photos of me training in Portugal, as you can see the weather was much better than in England.

It’s almost time for the festive season and I’m looking forward to it as ever, although I’ll be training over Christmas and new year when I usually take some time off so it will be different, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it if I can come back from New Zealand with another gold medal.

I braved the cold for a Grainger photoshoot last week, and am looking forward to seeing the results, will post them soon.

Snow Joke, Again

Who’s idea was it to hold the World Championships in January? Terrible decision! Don’t they realise that I live somewhere where the weather is a disgrace for at least 9 months of the year and in the winter I’m lucky if I can get out of the house nevermind go and throw sticks over my head. I thought it was bad enough in February when I did my Sport Relief challenge but it is ny on impossible to train out doors at the moment, I had some light relief from the weather earlier this month but now I’m having to content myself with hoying sticks into the indoor net at Gateshead and hoping they don’t come back and hit me on the head.

Been a very busy time since I last blogged, we had a fantastic engagement party at the Gosforth Civic Hall, which turned out to be a great venue. It was unbelievable to see how many people came along, me and Rach really enjoyed the party and are so grateful for the many generous gifts we received. The 5-1 victory over the unwashed the next day topped off what was one of the best weekends of my entire life.

I went off to Portugal a couple of days after that and spent the next 9 days training, eating and sleeping in relatively hot weather. It was a tremendous camp, just me and coach Mam. I enjoyed it because it was very laid-back and we could take our time and get all the training done to a very high standard. I nearly injured myself by accidentally driving my wheelchair off the stairs at the front of the hotel, but we won’t dwell on that.

I can announce (I think) that I have a new sponsor that are going to help me up to London 2012. Grainger PLC – – who are based in Newcastle and London have agreed to sponsor me and two other Paralympians up to the 2012 Paralympics. I’m very proud that they chose to sponsor me and it’s a massive lift. It brilliant to see more private businesses looking to sponsor disabled athletes and shows how much the athletes and the sport have progressed. I’m sure I can repay Grainger’s faith in me when I compete in New Zealand. Now just need to get rid of this snow!