University of Nottingham student Thomas Green is on his way to New Zealand after being selected in the 40-strong Great Britain squad for the IPC World Athletics Championships taking place from 21 to 30 January 2011.
Despite only taking up club throwing in 2005 and having to juggle the demands of training with a Mathematics degree, Thomas is already British number two and ranked in the World F32 Top 10.
With a fourth place finish in the Paralympic World Cup, held in Manchester in March, and a personal best of 28.88 metres set this summer, Thomas is confident of another strong performance in Christchurch.
However, he admits that anything from this year’s championship would be a bonus, after not even expecting to make the British team due to his young age and relative inexperience.
Thomas said: “It was a huge shock when I got the call from my Performance Manager to confirm my selection. I’ve thrown for Great Britain three times now, and the thrill of being selected doesn’t diminish, but being selected for a major championship is something else … To compete against the world's best is a great honour, I am relishing the chance to get experience on such a stage.”
The news was made even sweeter, as it came while Thomas was with his dad and coach, Ken. It was Ken who was responsible for getting his son into the sport at the age of 12, after seeing three-time Paralympic champion Stephen Miller competing on television.
Thomas explained that his progression has been quick in his new sport: “During my first full season I improved by five metres and people started seriously suggesting I might have international potential. This seemed very surreal to me, but the next season I threw 20 metres, a landmark distance for someone of my age, and UK Athletics took an interest in me. This resulted in me being put on the World Class Performance Programme, and going to Australia for a training camp in January 2007.”
In the lead up to the IPC championships Thomas, who has cerebral palsy (CP), has been making use of the University’s indoor facilities, which have been designed to give access to the 2,000 disabled students currently studying across Nottingham’s campuses.
“The University have been very supportive of me and my athletics commitments. The staff at the Sports Centre are very keen to assist me in any way they can, and I will no doubt take advantage of the Any-Buddy Scheme further on in my training. This is all helped by the University’s very positive attitude towards disabled sport.”
It is this level of support and encouragement, which Thomas believes is vital if disabled athletes are to remain in sport in the long-term.
“Frustratingly, a lot of athletes who are not going to reach international standard do not continue in the sport. This is a great shame, because there are still plenty of events for non-elite athletes to compete in. When I first started going to CP Sport events, I had no idea that I could ever get anywhere near international level, but I still loved the competitions and the camaraderie that develops between the athletes.”
Disability Sport Officer at The University of Nottingham, Hannah Webber, added: “Thomas is an outstanding disabled athlete and definitely a star of the future. As a University we are proud to be supporting him through the Sports Bursary Scheme and by facilitating some of his training.
“As well as adapting to life away from home, Thomas has started to really develop and flourish as an athlete and a student, achieving personal bests on the field and in the ‘classroom’. He is a great sporting ambassador for the University and we wish him luck in his first World Championships. Go Thomas!”
Thomas will be writing a monthly blog on his training, including his preparation for the World Championships. If you want to read more about his progress please go to: https://www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/asset/news/6001/Thomas-Green-Blog-Nov.pdf or http://sportyhannah74.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/the-thomas-green-blog-its-all-about-the-attitude/.
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Times as “the nearest Britain has to a truly global university”, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.
The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 39,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.
The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.
More news from the University at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/news.
Facts and figures at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/about/facts/factsandfigures.aspx.
The Any-Buddy Scheme aims to get students of all abilities more active by taking part in sporting activities. The ‘Any-Buddy Scheme’ has been designed to provide both disabled and non-disabled students with the opportunity to play sport, get fit and most importantly have some fun with the help and support of a volunteer ‘buddy’.
F32 is a category of Paralympic sport classification. Classification provides a structure for competition which allows athletes to compete against others with similar disabilities or similar levels of physical function. It is similar in aim to the weight classes or age categories used in some able-bodied sports.
More information on the University’s bursary scheme is available at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/sport/burstim.php.