Dereham paralympic hopeful Will Smith aims to emulate David Weir

TEAM GB World Championship Wheelchair Racer Will Smith training at his home in Dereham. Picture by: Matthew Usher. TEAM GB World Championship Wheelchair Racer Will Smith training at his home in Dereham. Picture by: Matthew Usher.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
6:30 AM

Dereham’s Will Smith hopes he is on the road to emulating six-time Paralympic champion David Weir after sharing the track with his decorated training partner at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix at Hampden Park.

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Since winning four golds and silver at the 2011 IWAS World Junior Championships in Dubai, Smith has been on everyone’s radar and he headed north of the border on Friday to test himself against his senior rivals.

The 18-year-old (pictured) unsurprisingly found the going tough in Glasgow, finishing the T54 1500m down in ninth with a time of 3:25.03 minutes while compatriot Weir claimed victory in 3:08.78

But after watching Weir roll to victory, City of Norwich’s Smith admitted competing against his idol has given him the ambition to match the Weirwolf’s success sooner rather than later.

“I have massive respect for him (Weir) and what he’s achieved,” said Smith, who hopes to compete throughout the Summer Series – events proudly backed by long-term supporter Sainsbury’s.

“He’s a great guy in training, he’s getting older and not going to be around forever, so he’s looking to bring some youth through.

“Working with him I’m gaining invaluable experience from a man who has done it all really. “Am I the new David Weir? I’ll answer that in a few years time, we’ll see.”

Sainsbury’s is a proud sponsor of the British Paralympic Association and its athletes all the way to Rio 2016, with para-athletics set to play a starring role in the indoor and outdoor athletics calendar with the retailer continuing as the partner of the major event series.

However Smith has plenty to concentrate on before he can even think about Brazil, returning to Glasgow later this month to represent Team England at the Commonwealth Games.

But while he insists it is too early in his career to target a place on the podium, Smith is delighted with his rate of progress.

“It was a good race in Glasgow, I felt like I learnt a lot, I was there for the experience,” he added. “Experience in the sense that I’ve been a junior for a long time, but now I’m just trying to make the transition.

“I was there with them for a little while, but they just had that top-end speed, stamina and man strength on me at the moment, but hopefully in a few years time I’ll be reeling them in. It’s all about progression.

“For the Commonwealths I’ll be happy with a final, anything else is a bonus.”

Sainsbury’s is proud to support British Athletics through the Summer Series events and is committed to helping young people lead healthier, more active lifestyles. 
For more information visit www.sainsburys.co.uk/legacy

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