Chris aims to end eight years of hurt

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MANSFIELD’S Chris Martin (pictured) has vowed to go back to what he knows best as he seeks to end eight years of hurt at the IPC World Athletics Championships in New Zealand.

The 40-year-old will make his fourth World Championship appearance in the Garden City of Christchurch, having made his debut nearly two decades ago in Berlin in 1994.

Martin scooped discus gold at the 2002 event two years after winning the Paralympic title in Sydney and two years before retiring following a fourth place finish at the Athens Games.

The Mansfield Harrier returned in 2007, taking Paralympic discus silver in Beijing a year later and he insists rediscovering old habits will be key to getting back to his 2002 winning ways.

“I think it is back to the old thing really of setting myself the goal of getting personal bests and finishing as high up as I can,” said Martin - who has been fine-tuning his preparations for the championships at a warm-weather Aviva-funded preparation camp in Auckland.

“This will be my fourth World Championships and I am really excited about competing and I would be disappointed if I wasn’t on the podium. The discus has moved on quite a lot since Beijing and it is a very competitive event, before there were maybe three or four world class athletes now there are about eight or nine.

“Everything has been going really well, I have been struggling with my back on and off over the past 12 months but that seems to be holding together.”

Martin’s trip to the land of the long white cloud will be his last major one before the Paralympics arrive on British shores in August 2012.

And the Mansfield Harrier admits performances in New Zealand will be vital if he is to secure a spot at the London Games sooner rather than later.

“Preparation for London 2012 is all about momentum and the worlds are a perfect chance to build some,” he added.

“I think it is a great chance for me to take some of the pressure of qualifying for the 2012 Paralympics off myself as well.

“The qualifying standards haven’t been announced but if I produce a good throw and get myself on the podium, hopefully with a personal best, then that will really strengthen my case.”

l Aviva has been supporting British athletes since 1999. To find out more about Aviva’s athletics sponsorship, go to aviva.co.uk/athletics