Had an interesting and fun month which started in Dubai where I went to compete in the 1st Sharjah International Open meeting. It is now the last in a series of three competitions in the UAE in March/April, I would very much be interested in going back next year to do all three competitions and also combine it with warm weather training. I threw 28.64 metres over there, it was slightly disappointed however I was trying a new throwing position and it was a very strong headwind.
Overall I’m pleased with my training this month, I’ve worked very hard and am in good shape for the start of the season, which realistically kicks off on the 14th of May at Stoke Manderville. Since I returned from Dubai I’ve had a cheeky chuck at a local competition in Hexham and threw 30.56 metres which I was pretty happy with, it shows there’s life in the old dog yet.
I’ve just received my new throwing chair, that has been modified by local company Tharsus and I’m very grateful for how quickly they’ve made it. It looks good but it’s very different to any frame I’ve had, so the next couple of weeks are important to test it out and see if I can actually throw from it. With any change to throwing process, it will take time to get used to the new positions but we’re sure that it will result in lots of sexy throws.
This month we finally convinced a bank to lend us lots of money so we can buy our bungalow. It feels like a massive weight off my shoulders, at one point it really looked like it might not happen because of my complicated earnings – although I still don’t understand how anyone can guarantee their income for 35 years. Still, it’s all done now thanks to a friendly mortgage broker, and now I’m in debt for the rest of my life – woohoo.
The IPC published the qualifying standards recently for the London 2012 Paralympic Games and they are surprisingly low, especially in my event where the A standard is just 24.30 metres – which is a massive drop from the 31.32 metres set as the A standard for the World Championships in Christchurch. Maybe it will result in more athletes competing in London but I don’t think it will improve the overall quality and competitiveness. The standards don’t really affect my personal targets, we’ve always had a good idea of what I need to throw in order to win competitions and we usually hit those targets. In Beijing we said 34 metres for gold, which turned out to be right. Christchurch was a surprise as we didn’t expect Bahlaz to throw that far. I will definitely hit my target in London