Danny's Beijing buzz

Athlete Danny Nobbs has returned to Attleborough after the “unbelievable” experience of competing in the Beijing Paralympics - and his focus is now firmly on success in London 2012.

Athlete Danny Nobbs has returned to Attleborough after the “unbelievable” experience of competing in the Beijing Paralympics - and his focus is now firmly on success in London 2012.

“It really was a wonderful experience, I loved every second,” he said. “The Games coming to London in 2012 will be massive.

“Through the way I have been progressing in the sport, there is no reason I couldn't be bringing that gold medal back in 2012.

“I'm making big inroads into the distances thrown by the top guys, improving quicker than they are. I'm reeling them in ... it's only a matter of time,” he laughed.

“I would love to compete at home in front of my friends and family - it would be a dream come true.”

Danny, who was paralysed in a motorcycle accident 12 years ago, came 10th in the F53/54 shot putt event in Beijing after throwing 9.13m, a centimetre under his lifetime best.

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Due to the two classifications being merged, his 10th place meant he didn't qualify for the final set of throws.

“It was unbelievable,” said Danny, who will be celebrating his 29th birthday on Saturday.

“The stadium was full - 90,000 people - but I wasn't nervous at all ... more excited. I have been training for years for that one moment. I was excited to get in and down to business really.

“Going into the competition I was sure throwing over 9m would get me into the top eight. Through the athletes in the F53 class throwing well, I just got edged out of the top eight.

“I was sixth in the IWAS World Championships last year when it was just my classification, and in my classification alone I would have come fifth (in Beijing), even when the world record was broken twice in the first round.

“All the top athletes were there and throwing well. I was really quite pleased to throw 9.13m and I hoped it would be enough to get through to the final but it wasn't to be. I'm now going to focus on the World Championships in 2011 in Christchurch and London 2012.”

He was full of praise for the support of local people and his employer Norwich Union, saying: “Brilliant. I couldn't have asked for more. I've had so many people congratulate me since I've been back, it's great to know I had so much support.”

Danny's wife Tracy, together with family and friends were part of the 90,000 crowd in the Bird's Nest Stadium watching the athletics.

He had gone to visit the stadium a few times in advance. “To go into the stadium for the first time on the day of my competition would just be mind blowing,” he pointed out.

“I was so focused that the noise didn't really hit me until after the competition. I was in awe of the place, 90,000 people all shouting and screaming, so supportive of all the athletes. The Chinese really did put on a hell of a show.”

He got back to Attleborough at the end of last week after the closing ceremony. “It was quite an unbelievable spectacle. It really was something else.”

“It was great to be a part of it and to represent your country - there is no bigger honour than that.”

Danny, who carries out his strength and conditioning training at Vinnie's Gym in Attleborough, gave himself a few days off training and allowed himself a few celebratory drinks after having not drunk alcohol all year in preparation for the Games.

“For a couple of weeks I'll chill out, having time with friends and family.”

He added he was very grateful for all the support he has received, particularly from sponsors Norwich Union and Goodness Shakes.

Beijing has certainly given him memories to treasure: “It really was brilliant, an unbelievable experience, the whole thing a lot bigger and better than I'd imagined. But hopefully it won't be a once in a lifetime experience - hopefully London will be as good, if not better,” he said.