Championship medal a target for Graeme

Targetting the podium: Chorley's Graeme Ballard
Targetting the podium: Chorley's Graeme Ballard
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A Chorley paralympian is jetting off to New Zealand for the World Championships this week knowing that it could be a make-or-break trip for his sporting career.

Graeme Ballard, 31, has a trophy cabinet bulging with medals, but his mum Barbara says that he has to get onto the podium or he will not receive funding he needs to compete at the highest level.

Since the Paralympic Games in Bejiing the Ballard family have been managing on one wage to support Graeme on his quest for glory.

Barbara said: “Graeme is currently ranked second in the world in the T36 category in the 100m and third in the 200m.

“He is number one in Great Britain, and I have spoken to his conditioning coach who says that he is good condition and is ready for the competition.

“Graeme has won medals at every championship that he has ever been at, except Bejiing when he was ill and injured.

“He had his funding cut after Bejiing, but he has been told that if he gets a medal then it will return.

“It is really important that he gets the money because every week we had to pay £30 to go for physiotherapy, which is vital for people with cerebal palsy.

“Over the past few months we had to reduce it to going twice a month because we could not afford it.

“We have been helping him financially which is very hard but we cannot carry on any longer.”

The member of Chorley AC had a successful 2010 picking up medals at Paralympic events in Crystal Palace, Gateshead and Cardiff.

Barbara said: “In February, he grabbed bronze in Dubai which was great because it was only at the start of the season.

“He also did well in the Paralympic World Cup in May by winning silver in a T37 race where he was up against people who were less disabled than him, and they should be faster than Graeme, but still only one person beat him.”