Harriers may have London 2012 champion

PARALYMPIC gold medallist Danny Crates believes Ipswich Harriers Athletics Club could have a future London 2012 champion in their midst having been so impressed by their set-up during a recent visit.

PARALYMPIC gold medallist Danny Crates believes Ipswich Harriers Athletics Club could have a future London 2012 champion in their midst having been so impressed by their set-up during a recent visit.

Crates, 33, was at Northgate Sports Centre in an ambassadorial role for Sport England as the national governing body awarded the Harriers coveted Clubmark status.

He said: “I have raced against Ipswich on many, many occasions and come off worse on many, many occasions.

“I know the work that goes into Clubmark and it's a great achievement that shows athletes the commitment their club has behind them. There is a fantastic set-up here (Ipswich) and you never know, there could be a future 2012 or 2018 champion here tonight.

“London 2012 will probably be one games too far for me and I will be jealous of any athlete that gets to run there.

“For every athlete that gets there, there will be hundreds that don't quite make it, but at least they've had that dream. That's what 2012 gives everybody now, it gives that little carrot.”

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Playing at county standard and facing a promising rugby career, Crates suffered a horrific accident while travelling in Australia in 1994 but soon became the first known arm amputee to play club rugby.

Recognised for his natural speed, Crates was soon persuaded to make the switch into athletics and, ten years after his accident, he was picking up a Paralympic gold medal in Athens.

Crates said: “I don't think I would have had the talent or mental ability to make it as far as I have without my accident, but after it I was able to find a real mental determination.

“We all question what we are doing in life and sometimes think is this really worth it?

“I have Monday morning type days just like everybody else, if its raining and cold and I don't want to get out of bed, they are my Monday mornings, but what motivates me is the desire to be the best in the world.

“I never get bored of reliving Athens because it took me six years of hard work to get there, but it was not just the winning, it was about sharing it with my friends and family too. I hope I can motivate people to do it themselves.

“If I can just encourage and persuade young athletes to stick with it and even stop just one talent giving up then I will have achieved something.”

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