Paralympic star gives ‘inspirational’ talk to Pontypool rugby players

'INSPIRATIONAL': Paralympic gold medalist John Harris met players at Pontypool RFC

'INSPIRATIONAL': Paralympic gold medalist John Harris met players at Pontypool RFC

First published in News by

PARALYMPIC legend John Harris gave Pontypool RFC players an “inspirational” talk about his extraordinary sporting career.

The Sebastopol athlete reached the pinnacle of sport after an accident left him paralysed in both legs when he fell nearly 60 feet from a ferris wheel aged 18.

He went on to become the world record holder in the discus event and won gold at the 1984 Paralympic Games in England.

Harris also completed the London Marathon in 1987, before taking part in a 400 mile wheelchair trip around Wales with fellow Paralympian Chris Hallam to raise cash for disability sport.

The pair completed another fundraiser in 1997, covering 600 miles, which allowed for the building of a national centre for disability sport.

He was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame last year.

Harris met the Pooler squad at Pontypool Park on July 15 to share his views on performance and training.

Mr Harris, 68, said yesterday: “It brought memories back. It was fantastic. They have got great players.

“With Alun Carter back, there is a massive buzz. It was brilliant to see them.

“I really want them to do well.”

Pontypool RFC director of rugby Alun Carter said: “John has been a lifelong supporter of Pontypool RFC, and with such a humble personality, it is easy to overlook his success as a gold medallist in the Paralympic Games and being at the forefront of wheelchair sport in the 1980s.

“He has achieved so much himself because of his dedication to training and the fact that he is a seriously tough man.

“We are delighted to have John as a friend of the club and he is simply an inspirational person.

“John will be with us throughout the forthcoming season and we very much value the input he has got to give.”

A keen sportsman as a youth, Harris was involved in gymnastics, rugby union and boxing, but he fell from a big wheel during a holiday camp at the age of 18.

The wheelchair user was encouraged to start training again and being a natural in the gym, he decided to get involved in Paralympic sport.

Mr Harris took part in five Paralympic Games, taking gold at Stoke Mandeville in 1984, then silver in the discus event and bronze in the pentathlon in Seoul in 1988.

In December, Harris helped to unveil a Cwmbran Stadium suite in honour of his pal Chris Hallam, who died last year.

Comments (1)

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7:44pm Fri 1 Aug 14

taffygwent says...

Once you have met him you don't forget him , a remarkable guy
Once you have met him you don't forget him , a remarkable guy taffygwent
  • Score: 2

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