Athletics: Shot-putter Womack going for gold

YORKSHIRE shot-putter Robin Womack has vowed to use his Beijing heartache as a catalyst for IPC World Championship gold in New Zealand this week

Former Kettlethorpe High School pupil Womack, from Wakefield, missed out on selection for the 2008 Paralympics after failing to throw the 'A' qualifying standard of 10.60m in the build-up to the Games and subsequently was left out of the Team GB squad.

But rather then feeling sorry for himself Womack has since gone from strength-to-strength forcing his way back in to the Aviva GB & NI team and registering a personal best throw of 10.87m.

And now the 39-year-old insists he is ready to underline his quality by playing a starring role when the action gets underway at the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium in Christchurch this weekend.

"Missing Beijing hurt, but it has made me very determined to prove I am a top-class athlete," said Womack - who has who has been fine-tuning his preparations for the championships at a warm-weather Aviva-funded preparation camp in Auckland.

"It has spurred me on and will continue to do so at the World Championships. The bottom line is I didn't get the qualifying standard and that's the rule.

"But I am a different athlete now, I've changed gym, I don't drink, I don't eat white bread and I don't have any caffeine. I train out of my wheelchair as much as possible, and I am strong and flexible so bring it on.

"I've got three throws when I get out there and I don't intend to go home disappointed, My PB is 10.87 but I am aiming to better that to around 11.50 and that should challenge for a medal.

"That is the target but I know anything can happen on the day.

"The warm-weather camp has gone well and they are a great part of my preparation for major championships because they give you that extra edge to go out and win medals.

Despite turning 40 in May, Womack isn't planning on retiring any time soon and like the majority of the Aviva GB & NI team has one eye on the London 2012 Paralympics – and beyond.

"I'm 39, but I have only been in the sport for five years," added Womack. "I have only had three years of proper training and now with the right support I feel I am going to succeed.

"London 2012 is the one I'm aiming for and I'm a crowd pleaser, so would love to compete in front of a home crowd. And being selected for the Aviva GB & NI team is the ultimate stepping stone for me towards my dream of winning gold at London.

"But it's not just London, I would love to see a European Championships as well and there is no reason I can't go on and do that."

* Aviva has been supporting British athletes since 1999. To find out more about Aviva's athletics sponsorship, go to aviva.co.uk/athletics

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