Country: Great Britain
Profession: Athlete – Shot Put
- 6x British outdoor champion
- 5x British indoor champion
- 5th in UK All-time list (indoors)
- In 2019 he become the first Brit since 2008 to throw over 20m (indoors)
You have a total of eleven British titles. Who or what do you credit for this success?
To be honest, I have always looked at the bigger picture, always striving to better myself, and the British titles have looked after themselves! I guess my coach is a huge part of that, getting me in shape so I can do the job. I’m also hungry, I don’t like losing and I am always looking at ways to move forward.
You started as a rugby player and a cyclist. Why did you decide to focus on athletics and shotput instead?
Cycling was just for fun and the social side of things, rugby however, I absolutely loved, and I still love the game! I was a part of some good teams and was doing both rugby and throwing for a while, but got a minor back injury from rugby that side-lined me from both sports for a short time. That time away from the sport helped me make up my mind, and I chose to focus on throwing. I love the fact that it’s an individual sport, and although I have a great team around me, when it comes down to it, no one else can throw the ball for me, lift the weights for me, do the hard graft for me, that’s all on me!
You have some interesting training methods, like truck pushing. What does your favourite training session consist of?
Yeah for sure! To be honest, I love the adapted sessions. The truck pushing came about because we were missing some equipment from the gym I train at on the weekend, and it was just before the first lockdown. So we adapted things and it worked out pretty well! It’s just the sessions that challenge you, but keep you on your toes that excite me. I guess it would have to involve throwing too in that session!
Great work on your “home-made” shotput ring – the Lincoln Field of Dreams! How has training been under the lockdown restrictions?
Thanks! It’s always been a dream, and eventually I want to hold some decent competitions here. Training in the lockdown has been great if I’m honest. Don’t get me wrong, there has been challenges, but there has also been breakthroughs. I mean I have been pretty lucky, due to being on the Olympic long list which classes me for the elite status, I am able to get out and train and have done throughout. However, the biggest challenge we faced was that the track was unable to stay open due to it becoming a testing station. So, me and my coach did a lot of sessions in an old knocked down school on the fields. There was no lighting so I had to bring a portable spot light to see what I was doing, also a drill and a stop board to screw it down to create a circle, then I was good to go! Other than that, everything else has been pretty much the same as I have my own gym in our workshop warehouse.
You have been outspoken about the lack of funding and media coverage for throwing events. What do you think needs to change if things are to be different going forward?
I think that the standard in throwing events is improving, we have a few good lads coming through in hammer, including currently one of the best in the world, we also have some good female hammer throwers including an Olympic medallist. In discus we have the return of the British record holder, and a few younger guys wanting to push on over that 60m+ barrier. Same with the women, we have a few talented throwers, and some that are working their way up. Women’s shot put now has a couple of athletes that are breaking into the European and world stages, and men’s javelin we have the first Brit over 80m in a long while. I’d also like to think I’m pushing on towards some bigger things this summer, being the first Brit over 20m in a few years was a start and I want to build on that. I think all in all, having the talent will hopefully stop the TV coverage going back to the studio rather than showing the throws. I think also, we need to make the sport appealing, provide quirky competitions that are fun and get people engaging and wanting to do it, which leads me back to the competitions I would love to hold at my house eventually! All in all, we just need to be represented, which is now getting better within British Athletics.
You are a fan of speedway riding – what does it feel like to ride like that!?
Yeah I enjoy speedway. I love speed, big cars and bikes! I love anything with an engine pretty much, and I love watching near enough any type of motorsports. I’ve not actually had the chance to get a go at speedway, but I’m fairly sure it would be a pretty big buzz, 0-60mph quicker than a Formula 1 car, top speed of 80mph, racing around an oval, oh yeah… and no brakes!