Brian Alldis in a battle for London 2012 place
HIS switch from one sport to another may see him miss out on the Paralympics, but Brian Alldis is not giving up hope.
The 25-year-old made the change from wheelchair to hand-bike racing after last year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi and admits the transition has been a difficult process.
The Bury St Edmunds athlete, who is ranked 11th on the European hand-cycling circuit, faces a race against time and a game of catch-up to qualify for London 2012, but the affable former Hardwick Middle School pupil has no regrets.
Should he not make the road race and time trial in London, he will then simply turn his attention to Rio and the Paralympics in Brazil in 2016.
While he admits pulling on the red, white and blue in his own country would be “amazing”, his long-term goals figure just as highly as an appearance in front of his home support next September.
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“I have to try my hardest to reach the top two or three in Great Britain in both the time trial and road race and it is going to be really tough,” said Alldis.
“The winners of the races I am taking part in at the moment are reaching speeds of between 26-27mph, while I am averaging between 21-22 so I have got to pick my speed up this winter.
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“I am currently in the pack behind the leaders and I will use my tough training regime over the winter to hopefully get in that lead pack.”
Alldis represented Great Britain in wheelchair racing at the Beijing Games in 2008 before pulling on the England vest in India last year but decided to make the change with his chances of making London limited.
“In wheelchair racing I did not have much of a chance of medalling or qualifying in 2012 so I decided to make the move across with one eye on the future,” said Alldis, who works for St Edmundsbury Borough Council.
“I made the change just over a year ago and I have found it pretty tough when I thought it would be straightforward.
“Other athletes who were in wheelchair racing made the change and I have a few years on them but I have obviously got to get used to the gears on the bike and all the technology that comes with it.
“While it’s been difficult going from the kneeling position to lying down on the bike, it’s also been interesting and I feel like I am learning all the time, getting help from the West Suffolk Wheelers, British Cycling and other cyclists.
“Hopefully I will progress enough to get to where I want to be and competing in London would be amazing but if that does not happen, there is always 2016 or even 2020.”
Should Alldis realise his dream, he will be racing on the world-famous Brands Hatch circuit, which is normally used for motorsport.
He raced in front of 95,000 people in Beijing in 2008 but believes everything is set up for an event that could rival that.
“It has all the ingredients to be an amazing Games,” said Alldis, who can be regularly seen on his hand-bike on his journey between Bury and Mildenhall, via Brandon.
“It might not be in the same bracket financially as Beijing but with the atmosphere and crowd and with the torch coming to Suffolk, it promises to be a fantastic spectacle.
“I think it can be better than the Games in Sydney, which are considered by many to be the best in the modern era and hopefully Great Britain will be at the top of the medal table.”