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Athletics: Les gets support from strongman.

TEESSIDE discus thrower Les Richards has enlisted the help of a former world's strongest man to transform his athletics ambitions into reality.

The Stockton giant, who finished just outside his medal target with fifth at the recent AAA national championships, has turned to Welshman Gary Taylor for help after detaching the bicep in his right throwing arm.

Taylor - world's strongest man in 1993 - suffered the same problem in both arms.

And he is now designing a specific weights programme with Richards' coach Paul Wilson so that the Teessider can build up the brachialis muscle around the injury, which could end his career if he gets it re-attached.

"Gary has had the same specific injury and so he knows exactly what to do after being through it," York-based said Wilson.

"So hopefully the programme will help Les continue to build up his strength and hit top form.

"The bicep could be re-attached, but not in the right place and he wouldn't not have the full length of his arm.

"In discus it's a case of the bigger your wing span the further you throw, so if he can build it up it will really help."

Les came fifth with a throw of 52.82m at the nationals, only 50cm behind third place.

He hit 56m in the warm-up - which would have been good enough for third - but was unable to repeat it in the competition -and 16.13m for fifth place in the shot putt.

"He still did well, a lot better than last year when he was ninth and has time on his side," added Wilson.

"With an injury-free winter I can see him being in the top two in the discus and top three for the shot next year. That's how much he is improving."

National Under-23 champion Les followed up by throwing 56m for Trafford in a British Cup match in London.

And he won the discus and set a new shot putt personal best of 17.21m while representing the North of England.

He has also been invited down to national squad training in Loughborough with Geoff Capes.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 29, 2007
Words:351
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