Chamberlain is waiting for the Paralympian call
6:44pm Thursday 30th August 2012 in London Olympics 2012 - Latest News
Wandsworth rower Ryan Chamberlain has been left with the toughest job in sport – waiting in the wings as first reserve for Great Britain’s Paralympic rowing team.
But the 26-year-old is no stranger to adversity and has steeled himself to deal with the chance of a last-minute call-up to the squad – or the disappointment of sitting out London 2012.
Chamberlain was part of last year’s Legs, Trunk and Arms mixed coxed four World Cup quartet but an infection contracted after an operation on his amputated left leg kept him out of action for five months instead of just one.
Now the King’s College graduate, who lost his leg below the knee after being hit by a bus on his gap year in Bolivia, spends his days training alone, mainly on land, in a bid to maintain his fitness while the Paralympic side focus together ahead of the Games.
The former Ashcroft Technology Academy pupil’s current state of play is even preventing him from competing in certain meets, adding to his rowing ring rust, but he is determined rowing limbo will not affect his fitness levels.
“I am the first spare and I have to continue training,” said the Fulham-born rower, who benefits from being a member of the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes programme.
“I am training on my own, on land and on bikes. I have found it to be more mentally challenging.
“I have not been able to compete in any competitions because the problem with being a spare is nobody wants you to be in their crew if you may be called away at short notice.
“I was in the squad for the World Cup but I was in hospital for a lot longer than I expected.
“The team is so competitive, but the guys who were selected are fantastic athletes.
“It was frustrating at the time but you have to go with whatever life deals you. With sport in general you can never predict what can happen and life will chuck you a few curveballs.
“Whoever was fittest at the time would get the spot and unfortunately that wasn’t me.”
With the use of advance sports physiology, the World Cup bronze medallist says he has developed a better understanding of his body, enabling him to fine-tune his preparations in the hope of the phonecall he is dreaming of.
But with his future in the sport beyond the Games unclear, Chamberlain is refusing to think about anything past the conclusion of the Paralympics despite his encouraging progression.
“I didn’t anticipate the difference after my injury,” said the Imperial College Boat Club member.
“Your body adapts to compensate and just being within the programme was incredible and it showed me how to notice different aspects of my body and how to prevent injury.”
Lloyds TSB Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 346 of Britain’s most talented developing athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond. Since 2008, the programme has supported 1,000 athletes. Follow future stars at facebook.com/lloyds tsblocalheroes.