Jonathan Adams ready to overcome adversity and reach Rio 2016 Paralympics
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk shot-putter Jonathan Adams is ready to put his annus horribilis behind him and use adversity as the fuel to fire him to next year’s Paralympic Games in Rio.
Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong for the 23-year-old in the penultimate year of the Paralympic cycle.
Adams, who has cerebral palsy, first saw the splint he uses to walk break and a tendinitis knee injury followed as a result. His rivals soon made gains in his absence and the governing body of British Athletics stopped his £11,000 UK Sport lottery funding.
All this came amidst a dispute with Loughborough University over the final marks of his psychology degree.
And yet the Great Cornard athlete, ever the fighter, has chosen to focus on the positives that have come out of the situation.
He is now back living in Suffolk and built a new team around him in the form of ex Ipswich Town Football Club physio Brian Simpson and Northampton Saints Rugby Club’s strength & conditioning coach Dan Taylor.
A new state of the art set of leg braces have also been secured and all of the aforementioned has enabled him to regain some momentum, confidence and belief.
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“This year has been a dark chapter in my life,” said Adams, who underwent major surgery on his legs between 2006 and 2010 before competing at London 2012 as a seated thrower then reclassifying as a standing thrower in 2014.
“I had told British Athletics in my previous review that I wasn’t happy with how things were going and that I was looking to change my set-up. Maybe I had been too honest with them. It did feel, however, that they were giving up on me at the very moment I needed their support the most.
“I was close to walking away from the sport at one stage because I’d become so disillusioned, but I didn’t go through all of that on and off the track just to jack it all in a year before the Games. I definitely have got a point to prove.”
Adamas has now been back in full training for two months and is quickly resdicovering his impressive early season form thanks to the new advice and equipment at his disposal.
“After surgery I had to relearn the basics fundamentals of technique all over again and learn to trust my legs to take the forces that I needed to put through them,” he explained. “The mechanics of my legs were different but the neurological messages being sent to them from my brain were still the same. You spend a long time fighting that and it was as much a psychological thing as physical.
“Even with all of that there was a feeling I was making really good progress before that summer injury though. I threw a big PB, claimed seven British records, became British Universities champion for a fifth time and finished fourth at the European Championships in Swansea.
“To make further improvements it was clear that I would need a proper brace to help me get my legs into certain positions that I am not able to get them into on my own. Now I’ve got that and I’ve come on now end. You wouldn’t recognise me as a thrower compared to before.
“This has allowed me to be on a level playing field. I can physically get into the same positions as the other athletes in my class now.”
Adams, who continues to be coached by Loughborough-based coach Jim Edwards, still needs sponsorship to plug the loss of UK Athletics funding. He estimates that £5-6k would cover travel, accommodation and coaching costs.
“I suddenly realised that the best way for me to have success was to be in charge of my own destiny and surround myself with people that will give me the support I need. I now only need to worry about people who genuinely worry about me.
“Because of the journey I have gone on, all the trials and tribulations of the last year, if I make Rio then it will be all the more sweeter.”
– To sponsor Jonathan Adams, contact him on Twitter: @jonathanadamsgb.