St Albans Athletics Club man philosophical about Rio Paralympics selection

St Albans AC athlete Mitchell Dutton is still hopeful of going to the Paralympics in Rio

St Albans AC athlete Mitchell Dutton is still hopeful of going to the Paralympics in Rio - Credit: Archant

For one St Albans Athletic Club member the dream of the Rio Paralympics is still very much alive – but it won’t be the end of the world if he misses out on selection.

Javelin thrower Mitchell Dutton competes in the F38 category for athletes with cerebral palsy, head injuries or stroke sufferers.

He has just returned disappointed from last month’s IPC Athletics European Championships and while still very much focused on what went wrong in Grosetto, Itlay, the 20-year-old is looking ahead to the trials at the end of July.

He said: “There’s a lot of nerves, lots of excitement, you wonder what will happen, but if I don’t get picked it’s not the end of the world.

“There’s the World Championships next year and then Tokyo in 2020 which is what I’m really gearing up for.

“I have a couple of competitions around the trials to try and get a stronger performance leading into it.

“A lot of my performance on the day will be due to confidence, make sure I’m in the right place.

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“Representing GB is great, the pride of putting on the jersey is something you can’t really describe. You look at it and can’t quite believe it, that it’s you that has that opportunity.”

Dutton finished fifth in the European championships with a throw of 36.23m, short of his personal best of 40.11m set last year.

Following a change of coach last year Dutton is feeling confident in his throwing, and despite the disappointment in Italy he is determined to take the positives and grow as an athlete.

He added: “They didn’t go as well as I’d hoped for but it was a good experience and one which I’ll certainly take a lot from.

“It was my first one, it was great to be a part of and I gained a huge amount of knowledge off the field as well as on it.

“Training is going well at the moment, I have a new coach and we’re getting a good bond and everything is falling into place.

“It’s more one-to-one – it used to be six of us in a session so there’s more attention on technical aspects to work on to improve my performance.”

Dutton is part of the SSE’s Next Generation programme, in partnership with SportsAid, which helps to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future.

Keep up to date with the latest @SSENextGen.