World championship dream for Bath runner Paul Blake
PAUL Blake didn’t realise his golden dream at the London 2012 Paralympics – but he insists he is leaving no stone unturned to ensure he achieves a different one next summer.
The 22-year-old University of Bath based athlete took to the track at the Olympic Stadium as the reigning world champion in the 400m and a silver medallist in both the 800m and 1500m.
However, just as at the European Championships less than three months before London 2012, Blake had to settle for silver in the 400m and bronze in the 800m.
He remains content with his haul at his maiden Paralympics, putting his failed attempt to win gold in both the 400m and 800m down to a learning experience.
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However Blake has vowed to be a fast learner and make up for his Paralympic miss at the next World Championships, set to be held in Lyon in July.
“I was going for two gold medals but unfortunately I wasn’t quite good enough on the day,” said Blake – speaking at the Aviva School Sport Matters Awards at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
“But it was my first Paralympics so a silver and a bronze isn’t too bad at all. I am still learning and I have only been running at the elite level for two years so I am still on a big learning curve.
“I have learnt just to relax a lot more and take everything in my stride and not to worry so much. I felt the weight of expectation because I was world champion over 400m coming into the Games.
“So I had that pressure but on the day I couldn’t let it get to me and I just ran. I couldn’t add to my world title but I will get another chance and now I have a main goal to achieve.
“I am trying to strive to get gold in Lyon next year so having won the silver it is a great incentive to go one better. If you have a goal you want to achieve you will work harder to get to it.”
After a break following London 2012, Blake is almost a month back into regular training and intends to jet off to South Africa in January for an altitude training camp.
And Blake is adamant he has the right people around him to improve upon his Paralympic medal haul at the World Championships in France next summer.
“Winning a medal gives you such a confidence boost. My achievements have sort of sunk in now and a lot of doors have opened up so it has been great,” he added.
“As long as you have the right support team and everyone is behind you it is up to you to do it and after the Paralympics I don’t have any less motivation after that high.”
The Aviva and Daily Telegraph School Sport Matters Awards recognise outstanding achievements in school sport across the country, and are part of Aviva’s wider commitment to support the next generation of British sporting talent. For more information go to aviva.co.uk/rugby-sponsorship