A SLEAFORD area athlete is preparing for the challenge of a lifetime when he competes in the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Kieran Tscherniawsky, 20, of Heckington, will be aiming for gold when he competes in the F33 seated discus in four weeks time. He is currently ranked second in the world in his event.
Kieran, who has cerebral palsy, has been interested in sport from a very young age. When he was 11, his grandparents Molly and Dennis Burrows tried to find a local sports club for disabled children.
They found there were none in Lincolnshire at the time but heard of adult wheelchair basketball sessions in Lincoln and asked if Kieran could join in. With a little persuasion, some of Kieran’s younger relatives also agreed to take part and a children’s team was created.
When Kieran turned 14, he expressed an interest in power-lifting at a disabled children’s workshop in Stoke Mandeville, and he earned a place in the Great Britain Development Squad after he impressed by lifting the equivalent of his own body weight.
After 18 months, Kieran’s coach asked him what he wanted out of life, to which Kieran replied: “I want to get to the top.”
As his coach had noticed his impressive upper body strength, he asked Kieran if he would be interested in trying shot-put or discus throwing.
Kieran gave the discus a go for the first time in Nottingham in 2008 and, just months later, he competed in the Tyne Games in Gateshead and threw 24 metres, breaking the record for his age group.
He then linked up with his current discus coach Jim Edwards from Loughborough in 2009 and he has since gone from strength to strength, competing all over the UK and abroad, breaking records and winning medals.
Most recently, he took part in the BWAA competition in Stoke Mandeville and threw an 30.99 metres, only 94cm behind the world record for F33 discus athletes.
He received a Paralympic call-up in October 2010 after reaching the A-Standard (the highest group in seated discus) and currently stands first in the UK and second in the world in his event.
Molly, Kieran’s grandmother, said: “When you look back three years at what he was throwing then and what he is throwing now, it is amazing how far he has come.
“Kieran is such a hard worker. He is very dedicated and won’t miss a training session. Harper’s Gym in Sleaford have been very supportive.
“He is feeling on top form and is training four hours a day. He just has to keep his focus to get the job done.”
Kieran will be setting off for the Paralympics on August 18 and his event will take place from 7pm on September 7.
* Kieran is trying to raise £4,000 to pay for a specially made chair to get him around the Olympic Park, supported by Heckington parish council. Any readers who would like to contribute to the chair or sponsor Kieran, can contact parish council chairman Richard Higgs on 01529 460027.