NATHAN PICKS UP SPEAR OF DESTINY; Javelin star targeting Games glory.HE is the athlete who has overcome remarkable odds to become one of our banner athletes in the Paralympic Games Par·a·lym·pic Games
An international competition for athletes with disabilities.
[para-1 + (O)lympic. .
Now Nathan Stephens has set his sights on winning a medal in the greatest disabled sports Disabled sports are sports played by persons with a disability, including physical and intellectual disabilities. As many of these based on existing sports modified to meet the needs of persons with a disability, they are sometimes referred to as adapted sports. spectacle of all - four years after falling agonisingly short.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday's Games kick-off, the Kenfig Hill-born athlete said the success of the London 2012 Olympics team had both raised expectations of the Paralympics team, but taken the pressure off on what to expect from the raucous home crowd.
The seated world champion javelin thrower, who also competes in the discus, was holed up at the training camp in Portugal during the Olympics, and said the team had drawn inspiration from the meteoric me·te·or·ic
1. Of, relating to, or formed by a meteoroid.
2. Of or relating to the earth's atmosphere.
3. success of Team GB, which earnt a record 65 medals, with 29 golds.
But the crowd support had been cited by a number of athletes as a boost - no matter the position of the British athletes in the event.
"It's great for us - and especially myself - to know the British public are getting behind the athletes, whether they are doing bad or well," said Stephens.
"We've been watching the social media sites and it shows the public are very proud of the athletes. We don't have to go out and try and win public backing, and it does take the pressure off. Then again, it is still London 2012 "It's still the home Paralympics and that pressure will still always be there."
Stephens, 24, went so close to a medal in Beijing in the seated javelin, finishing fourth, but had his best ever season in 2011, winning gold at the Paralympics world championships in New Zealand New Zealand (zē`lənd), island country (2005 est. pop. 4,035,000), 104,454 sq mi (270,534 sq km), in the S Pacific Ocean, over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) SE of Australia. The capital is Wellington; the largest city and leading port is Auckland. last year, and later broke the world record in the F57 event in the Czech Republic Czech Republic, Czech Česká Republika (2005 est. pop. 10,241,000), republic, 29,677 sq mi (78,864 sq km), central Europe. It is bordered by Slovakia on the east, Austria on the south, Germany on the west, and Poland on the north. , with a throw of 41.37m.
His preparation this year was hampered by a shoulder injury which required surgery, but he is now at full fitness for the Games.
And he said the home crowd could roar the GB athletes on to beating their formidable 103-strong medal target from at least 12 sports, with the Welsh athletes aiming to better their 14-strong haul in Beijing.
Paralympics chiefs are on the brink of the first ticket sell-out in the Games' 52-year history, with 2.3 million of the 2.5 million available tickets sold. The last batch of 140,000 sold out in three hours.
Stephens said: "The tickets have been on sale, sold out, then on resale, sold out, then on resale, then sold out. We're all sitting here watching the tickets go. It does get you very excited that people want to come and see us.
"The stadium in Beijing was packed, but it will be totally different this time. Then, we were trying to block out [the fans]. It will be a very weird feeling - and knowing how to control that will be important."
Stephens lost his legs in a tragic "bad game of chicken" when he was hit by a freight train on his ninth birthday, after he had been trying out a new pair of trainers near train tracks at his Kenfig Hill home.
He had tried to jump onto a moving freight train when he was dragged underneath, leading to his left leg being amputated almost to the hip - with just two inches of his femur femur (fē`mər): see leg. remaining - while his right leg was lost above the knee.
He threw himself into sport as part of his recovery, becoming an international-standard sledge hockey Sledge hockey is a sport that was designed to allow participants who have a physical disability to play the game of ice hockey. Ice sledge hockey (also known as sled hockey in the United States) was invented in the early 1960s in Stockholm, Sweden at a rehabilitation center. player - a sport in which he was then spotted by the British national team at 14 - and mini-marathon racer.
His success in athletics led to him being one of the few disabled athletes to be named on the five-strong shortlist for BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year The BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year is the most prestigious annual sport award in Wales. It is organised by BBC Wales, and has been awarded since 1954. Winners
"I wouldn't change my life for the world," he said. "If someone asked me would you want your legs back - I'd turn round to them and say no. The only thing I'd change is what I put my family and friends through that day."
Fast-forward 15 years, and he is now targeting gold after his disappointment four years ago.
"Obviously, last year was fantastic. This year, with the shoulder injury and the operation, it has kind of knocked me back a bit," he said.
"But I still know what I can do and what I am capable of. I wouldn't be happy if I didn't get a medal.
"I want to go up there and get a medal, stand on the podium, hear God Save The Queen God Save the Queen
British national anthem. [Br. Culture: Scholes, 408]
See : Britain
God Save the Queen
official national anthem of the British Commonwealth. [Br. Music: Scholes, 408]
See : Song, Patriotic and see the British flag going up."
And he said the success of the able-bodied athletes in the Olympic Stadium should drive him and his GB teammates on - and they should now consider themselves up alongside the able-bodied Games. "I still look up to the likes of Dai Greene and Mo Farah, who are absolutely tremendous athletes," Stephens said.
"But I forget I am up there with them now, too.
"I went on a visit to a school and the school kids were researching me. I went up to the school and I got my whole biography - they were telling me stuff I'd forgotten about myself.
"If you want a legacy from the Olympics and Paralympics - that's the one you want.
"It's got to be about getting youngsters involved in sport and it is brilliant to see so many people getting behind the Paralympics in London and doing it justice.
"We're setting a benchmark for Rio and beyond."
Nathan Stephens is hoping for great things in the London Paralympic Games, after falling agonisingly short of a medal four years ago in Beijing. Far left, Nathan competing for Great Britain in the seated discus event at the Manchester Regional Arena last year