4th Time Unlucky… Again – Silver Medal at IPC European Championships in Swansea

swanseaI recently bounced back to medal winning form in Swansea at the IPC European Athletics Championships, taking the Silver Medal in the Men’s F32 Club Throw on Tuesday 19th August.

It was a case of dejavu for me, as just like in the Paralympics at Beijing and in the World Championships at Christchurch, was denied a 4th consecutive title. I guess 4 just isn’t my lucky number.

Having won at all three previous IPC European Championships dating back to 2003, I set out my defence on the first morning of the games held in Swansea.

A strong field of 10 athletes made for a tense and tight competition. I produced a best throw of 30.68m and was in the lead until Vladislav Frolov of Russia threw a massive personal best of 34.10m to push me down to second place. Poland’s Maciej Sochal took bronze with 29.59m, while Britain’s Thomas Green took 4th with a good performance of 28.43m.

The competition featured most of the top ranked athletes in the world this year, and for me it was a return to the medal podium for the first time since having a total hip replacement after the London Paralympics. After the operation I was told there was only a 50/50 chance of competing at the highest level again. The standard was very good as usual in the F32 Club Throw, and the new IPC rules were enforced strictly but fairly by the officials – I think they will only make seated throws fairer and more competitive in years to come, so well done for IPC for implementing them.

swansea2It was a great competition and I really enjoyed being out there mixing it up with the best in the world. I came here to defend my title and I think I could’ve thrown a bit further (as I always  do). The performance of the winner was a shock, but this can happen in disability sport, and it’s happened to me a few times in the past. Overall though I’m happy and proud with another medal. Big thanks go out to Ros my coach, Speedflex, my physio Penny at The Performance Clinic, my chiropractor Andy at ThinkChiropractic, Mannatech, The National Lottery and everyone else who has supported me this year.

This was my 26th international medal spanning 19 years of competing for my country. I competed at the 20th Gateshead Harriers’ Tartan Games on Sunday (24th August) which is also the first anniversary of my marriage to Rachel. Hard to believe it’s been a year as it seems like yesterday, but we celebrated in style at the Hilton with steak and champaigne.

I have one more competition before the season draws to a close, the CP National Championships in Grantham. It’s been a good but frustraiting season in many ways, I feel I’m in the best physical shape I’ve been in for many years but haven’t quite delivered the performance to match that, my consistancy is improving through so I’m aiming to end the season on a high before having a well earned break. It’s a massive year next year with the IPC World Championships in Doha.

Don’t forget the 100% Stephen Miller Exhibition is on display at Gateshead College’s Academy for Sport until 5th September – Get along to it! And if you’d would like to host the enhibition or buy a print contact Dan Prince – dan@danprince.co.uk – http://www.danprince.co.uk/index.php/news/

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