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UK Athletics

Greaves looking to continue rich vein of form

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Dan Greaves
12 November 2014 

2014 could not have gone better for Dan Greaves (coach: Jim Edwards). Commonwealth Games and European gold medals to go alongside a European record and breaking the illusive 60m barrier for the first time in his career.

The veteran of four Paralympic Games has been one of the star performers this year and admits that even he is amazed by what he achieved in the last 12 months.

“It’s probably the best season I could have dreamt of really. At the start of the year we had a lot of goals to tick and in an ideal world to fulfil that with two golds at two major championships, to break my personal best and the 60m barrier five times is incredible for me,” said the 32 year old, who was born with talipes*.

“I can hardly believe it’s true, because you dream of these moments and it changes your life and your outlook on your progression in sport. To sit here now looking ahead to Rio knowing that I’m in the best shape of my life is really positive.”  

Greaves saw off GB & NI teammate Aled Davies (Ryan Spencer Jones) in Glasgow throwing 59.21m before heading to Swansea obliterating his previous personal best of 60.12m set in July by over two metres. His throw of 62.34m came somewhat of a surprise, but was glad to put the demons to rest and become a consistent 60m plus thrower.

The Charnwood AC athlete explained: “It’s almost been a disappointment because I’ve been throwing it (60m) so regularly in training and the hardest thing is to convert it to competition. It hasn’t happened until this year and it’s a massive weight off my shoulders and mentally as well to know that my ability is progressing knowing you can throw further and further.

“To make the breakthrough this year gives you that confidence to know that all the work that you put in the circle and the gym is actually helping. To throw 62m and bypass 61m was amazing and I think the biggest confidence booster to know that I’m not just a fringe 60m thrower.”  

The success did not end in Swansea, as Greaves beat long-term nemesis Jeremy Campbell at the Sainsbury’s IPC Grand Prix Final. After finishing behind the American at last year’s IPC World Championships and the Paralympic Games, he produced a throw of 60.01m to win at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium. It wasn’t the close competition Greaves was expecting, with Campbell finishing with a best effort of 50.57, over ten metres down on his best in 2014 and now believes he is on the front foot leading into next year’s IPC World Championships in Doha.  

“I was massively shocked (by Campbell’s performance). That’s the first time for a long time that I wasn’t afraid of Jeremy. I’ve got the respect of him being the world record holder, Paralympic and world champion but it’s the first time I’ve gone into a competition knowing I was in great shape and he’d have to work really hard to beat me.

“Throwing 50m when the guy has thrown 61m as a season’s best for him was disappointing. I know his weakness that when he comes under pressure from myself and knows I’m in shape, he tries too hard which he did in Birmingham. Going forward, I’ve got to focus on myself making sure that I stay in great shape and put pressure on him. He’s going to have to perform outstandingly like he did in London and Beijing to beat me. Hopefully in Rio I can put pressure on him to be at his best to get close to me.”

With a succession of impressive throws this season for Greaves, much will be expected of Campbell next year and the 2004 Paralympic gold medallist feels the American should be quaking in his boots after such a strong 2014.

“I think he should be scared. It was obviously a great loss to me to lose the World Championships and I didn’t perform that brilliantly. This year I really wanted to stamp my mark to show I’m not messing about and that next year it’s going to take a 60m plus throw to win. He knows the same and it depends on whether he’s working equally as hard, but I know I’m on the front foot going forwards. I’ve put myself in the best position to get gold.”

*What is talipes? Talipes is a deformity of the foot and ankle that is present at birth (congenital)

You can follow Dan Greaves on Twitter via @discusdan