Dacorum & Tring AC has welcomed a former world-ranked athlete and Paralympian to its javelin coaching squad.
Douglas Greer joined the coaching staff last month, and has already seen success among his squad.
U13 girl Tia Stonehouse finished first in the javelin at last weekend’s EYAL match for young athletes with a throw of 25.36m – which puts her in the top-10 in the UK rankings for the year to date.
Doug, who was born without a right hand, began throwing at age 13, winning several Herts schools competitions before his PE coach directed him to the British Paralympic Association.
For the next few years, he competed in both able-bodies events – winning the 3 A’s county competition – and disabled events, where he won gold medals in various events.
He was only 17 when he made his first appearance in a GB vest, winning a silver medal at the 1994 Paralympic World Championships in Berlin, in the 1936 Olympic stadium.
By 1995, he made the choice to train full time to prepare for the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, training up to six days a week and travelling up to Sheffield every weekend to the BPA’s training facilities at the city’s Don Valley Stadium.
He was coached by legendary javelin coach John Trower and trained alongside the likes of Steve Backley and Mick Hill.
By the summer of 1995, Doug was ranked number 1 in the world, and went into the Paralympics with high hopes of a place on the podium, but a shoulder injury left him just outside the medals in fourth place.
Later diagnosed as a fractured ball-and-socket joint, the injury pushed him out of competition and back to university, where he earned a 2:1 Bsc Hons in Sports Science and Technology, and ultimately on to a career in recruitment consultancy.
But the lure of the sport is strong, and Doug decided to get involved again, this time as a coach, and has taken on an enthusiastic and talented group of youngsters aged between 10 and 17.
He urges any interested throwers to visit Dacorum & Tring’s Jarman Park facility to give it a go, saying :“You never know, you could be the next Steve Backley!”
Doug will be coaching the throwers alongside Trevor Ratcliffe, a member of the club since 1976 and one of the most successful club throwers in the UK, having won age group medals at county and national level.
More recently, he was the top-ranked javelin thrower in the UK in the V45 age group in 2013, and as a veteran athlete, he has won numerous national and international competitions, including the World Masters Indoor Championships in France in 2008.