Ballard on song for silver medal

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Graeme Ballard was lost for words after the veteran Chorley sprinter continued to roll back the years by tasting silver at the IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea

The 35-year-old, who won 200m bronze on his Paralympic debut in Athens a decade ago, came home behind Russia’s Evgenii Shvetcov in 12.49 seconds in the T36 100m final.

Chorley ace Graeme Ballard

Chorley ace Graeme Ballard

And it could well be the first of three European medals for Ballard in Swansea this week, with appearances in the 200m and 400m races still to come.

He certainly is not short of support in Swansea with Sainsbury’s a proud sponsor of the British Paralympic Association and its athletes all the way to Rio 2016.

Ballard, who won 100m silver at London 2012, could not put his finger on why he has managed to thrill British crowds for so long but he insisted he isn’t done yet.

“I haven’t got the answer for you but I’m very pleased,” said Ballard. “I knew I was in good shape so I’m more than happy.

“I’ve got the 400m and the 200m next and it’s just taking it one step at a time now and seeing what happens.

“It’s difficult but I think it’s do-able, so I’m hoping for another place in the podium. The support has been terrific out here, it’s been amazing and I’ve loved it so far.”

Meanwhile Isaac Towers, from Catterall near Garstang, is targeting his own trip to the podium after laying down a marker on debut in Swansea.

Towers is just 15-years-old but has a hectic week in store with the T34 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m all to pack in on the Welsh coast.

On Tuesday he kicked his meet off with an impressive showing in the 100m, finishing seventh among seasoned veterans in a time of 18 seconds 
flat.

And Towers remains convinced that the crowd will catch a glimpse of him on the podium.

“I’m getting more into it now, definitely, now I know what the score is I’m a lot more relaxed than I was,” said Towers.

“I want to final for the ones I’ve got heats in and hopefully look to come somewhere near the top in the 800m – that’s my best chance of a medal.”

Sainsbury’s is proud to support British Athletics through the Summer Series events and is committed to helping young people lead healthier, more active lifestyles. For more information visit www.sainsburys.co.uk/legacy.