Ballard open to medal tilt in Tokyo
Chorley sprint star Graeme Ballard has refused to rule out the possibility of competing in his fifth Paralympic Games.
The 38-year-old former T36 100m world record holder is already a veteran of four Paralympic campaigns.
He made his debut in Athens 2004, where he won a bronze medal in the 200m, and has gone on to compete in Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro – famously winning a 100m silver medal on home soil in 2012.
Despite his advancing years and veteran status within the sport, Ballard could still yet have another shot at winning gold in Tokyo in three years’ time – at the grand old age of 41.
“As long as I am still enjoying doing what I am doing – which I am at the moment – then who knows,” said Ballard, who finished fourth and sixth in the T36 100m and 200m respectively at the IPC World Championships, in London, over the past week.
“I want to go on for as long as I can, but I am not sure what I am going to do next.
“I am having a bit of a break now but when I get back to training, I will speak to my coach and we will discuss things going forward.
“But I’m not committed to anything.”
Ballard, who attended Beaumont College, has enjoyed an amazing career competing at the highest level of paralympic sport.
His success is all the more astonishing considering doctors warned his mum Barbara and dad Dennis that he would never walk or talk and would not make it beyond his teenage years
Born 13-weeks premature and weighing just 2lbs, his lungs were so underdeveloped that it caused him to be be starved of oxygen which led to cerebral palsy.
However, despite all the major challenges he has faced in his life, he continues to be a major force in the T36 classification and was close to adding to his long list of medals in London last week.
“I was pleased with my performance,” he said. “I thought my performance was good, but obviously disappointed to miss out on a medal.
“But on the day I was beaten by the better people.
“I was hopeful of winning a medal, but you never know what everybody else had been doing.
“I knew the competition was going to be tough. You just have to go out and do your best.
“The atmosphere in London brought back memories of 2012. It was fantastic.”