26 July 2017Pain worth the gain to bring home world title
It takes a few days to sink in when you achieve something so special and I couldn’t get to sleep for four hours the night after I won world championships gold.
I just didn’t think I’d be able to go to Rio in the Paralympics and then pull this off as well.
It meant so much to me to go back to that stadium and regain the world title — the noise the fans in London make is insane. They did it in 2012 and they did it again this month. It really does take you back to that great summer.
I tried not to over-think things and just focus on the job in hand on the day of the final.
I knew the German, Johannes Floors, had pretty much set a personal best in each race he had run this year and was a real threat.
I was relaxed and really had the feeling I could run fast. However, it was not as easy as that.
I felt cramp in my bicep in the tunnel on the way into the stadium and knew my body wasn’t quite right.
So, I tested it before the race but my hamstring then completely cramped up. I stretched it out and, thankfully, eventually it released.
But from that point onwards, I was pretty nervous about how the race was going to go.
I gave it everything I could but I was genuinely under the assumption I wouldn’t finish the race.
I just tried to push through the pain. I was pretty sure the hamstring was going to tear, so in the end I was relieved just to finish and realise I was world champion again.
I didn’t push too hard in the first few steps but by 50metres it was okay and I tried to just hammer it home from that point on. I knew it wouldn’t be a very good time (10.75 seconds) and my coach Dan Pfaff sent my other coach Mike Khmel an email saying: ‘Shame, because the guy was going to run really fast.’
Now I intend to have some time off — what I’m calling an ‘easy’ year. I probably won’t do any serious training for 12 months or so.
‘I was genuinely under the assumption I wouldn’t finish the race’
It’s not a year out but I don’t intend to compete for a year, although I will keep my hand in and do the occasional session. Now at least I can have a beer! I also want to make the most of the opportunities that are out there. For instance, I really enjoyed working on Channel 4’s coverage of London after I had competed.
I have no set plans, it’s just a year for me, a brand new experience.
My friend Aled Davies and I have already joked about turning up at an event next season and just doing a decathlon!
London has kind of book-ended the last five years for me, with my big breakthrough at the 2012 Paralympics and now this second world title back at the stadium. People have already been asking me if I’ll be back and 100 per cent I intend to be. It would have to be something seriously good in terms of other opportunities to stop me from returning in 2019.
The World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 concluded on July 23. As part of the summer of world athletics, next month sees the IAAF World Championships come to the London Stadium. Tickets available: tickets.london2017athletics.com