London 2012: Adams dedicates his Games debut to Jan

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JONATHAN Adams has dedicated his Paralympics debut to the woman who helped him overcome the difficulties he faced at school.

The shot putter, who made his Games bow in the Olympic Stadium in the F34 seated classification last Tuesday, revealed he competed in memory of fellow Great Cornard resident Jan Wait, who passed away from cancer over the summer.

Adams, 19, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, said: “I would like to thank everyone for their support and dedicate my performance to Jan Wait, who passed away with cancer a few months ago.

“She has supported me all the way through school and I am very close to her family.

“That was dedicated to her and I was thinking of her. We shared a stage together and we were involved in our own part of history.”

Adams, who finished 14th out of 15 competitors who recorded throws, from a field of 16, added: “When you go through a journey you never forget the people who impacted your life, like your family and friends.

“I went out there and did it for her really and of course everyone around me.”

The Loughborough-based athlete, who threw 9.84m, 0.37m short of his personal best, also added thanks to the National Lottery, the team’s head coach Peter Eriksson and his coach Jim Edwards.

“I hope I have done them all proud,” he said. “Of course I wasn’t able to perform to my ability I wanted to, but it was definitely an achievement to be out there.”

Adams’ London Paralympic journey ended in style with the teenager taking part in the closing ceremony headlined by Coldplay on Sunday night before taking his place on an open-top bus parade through London on Monday as close to a million people lined the streets.

Having shared in his training partner Dan West throwing a British record alongside him to reach the final eight, eventually finishing seventh, and living in the same house as quadruple gold medal winner Dave Weir, he said it had been an unforgettable experience.

“I am proud of everyone in Paralympics GB, not just Dan,” he said. “It has just been an amazing experience. Claire Williams, who is a bronze medallist in our group in the F11/12 discus, has been a great thing for us.

“To see our stars like Dave Weir and Jonnie Peacock and Hannah Cockcroft and those kind of people and Dan Greaves in the discus, another Loughborough guy in our group, to be with them has been an experience I will never forget.”

Adams, who begins a social psychology degree at Loughborough University later this month, only began throwing from a seated position a year ago and added he will take stock of things before deciding his next move, though is confident about his future in the sport.

He said: “To get to where I got 
to in 12 months, who knows what can happen in two years down the road?”

Meanwhile, Great Cornard is also celebrating the success of another Paralympian, with former 16-year-old gold medallist swimmer Jessica-Jane Aldergate, of Belton, near Great Yarmouth, the great niece of village resident Barry Applegate.

His late wife Gill, who is remembered with a commemorative bench on the recreation ground, was a parish clerk in Great Cornard for 14 years before current incumbent Michael Fitt.

The council this week wrote a letter congratulating Applegate on her achievements, having set a Paralympic record in the S14 200m freestyle, to be passed on through Barry.