Young athlete eyes up more Paralympic medals

William Stedman wants medals in both track and field at next year's Tokyo Paralympics.
William Stedman wants medals in both track and field at next year's Tokyo Paralympics.
Christchurch track and field star William Stedman will vie for medals in two disciplines at the Tokyo Paralympics next year.

The 18-year-old former Middleton Grange School student, who lives in Hillmorton, put in a strong performance to take bronze in the 400m T36 final at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai.

He also finished fifth in the long jump, which enhanced his belief he can compete in both events at Japan.

“Next year, Tokyo 2020, medals in the long jump and the 400m is the goal,” he said.

The 400m and 800m Rio de Janeiro Paralympic bronze medallist has cerebral palsy.

He also competed in the T36 100m, 400m and long jump at the World Para Athletics Championships.

He missed the final in the 100m but said he tried to conserve energy in the heats of his favoured 400m event.

“I went out for the first 200m at my normal pace, just trying to get out fast and practice for tomorrow.

“Then I had around 120m to go and saw that I was ahead so slowed down a bit, and then slowed even more for the last 50m."

Stedman crossed the line in 54.28sec and the race was won by Australian James Turner in a new world record time of 51.71sec.

Silver went to Evgenii Shvetsov of Russia in 53.18sec.

“It’s the second fastest time I’ve ever run so I was pretty happy with that.

“I didn’t quite run the first 200m quite as quick as I should have, so that may have affected the time slightly, but overall I think I ran well and I’m really happy with the bronze medal.”

Stedman also competed in the long jump T36 final.

He had a best jump of 5.39m and finished fifth overall in the competition.

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