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Graeme aims for second sprinting medal
9:21am Thursday 6th September 2012 in Sport
GRAEME Ballard is bidding to complete a memorable Paralympic double this evening – and he admits the partisan home crowd can act as an inspiration.
The Chorley sprinter, who has cerebral palsy, picked up a silver medal in the 100m sprint at the weekend and will hope to go one better in the 200m today.
Ballard, 33, has gone straight into the final after the morning heats were scrapped and will have high hopes of making the podium once more.
The world record holder in the T36 100m, Ballard completed a golden double at the Paralympic World Cup earlier this year when he won the 200m title.
Now, with a packed Olympic Stadium roaring him on, Ballard admits the home support inspired him to his silver medal on Sunday.
He said: “When I came out of the tunnel the noise level was incredible but when I got on to the line to start the race it went dead quiet for you.
“That crowd was amazing; you couldn’t ask that from any other country really. The support has been absolute top notch.
“It has been my best Paralympics by far. I raced in Beijing but Beijing was a bit of a bad experience but there were no Beijing thoughts on my mind.
“The lap of honour was unreal, I couldn’t believe it. At one stage it made me feel like I had won that race.”
Ballard won bronze in the 200m in Athens but, after claiming silver in the shorter sprint this time, admits he has no preferred event.
“One minute it can be the 100m, but another day it was 200m. I like the 200m,” he said.
“It can fluctuate. One day I can be happier with my 200m runs, then on another day it can be the 100m.”