KIRKBY swimmer Sam Hynd, pictured, has vowed to use this summer’s IPC European Championships to fire him to glory at London 2012.
With the countdown to the London Games reaching the 500 days to go mark last week, thoughts inevitably turn to Hynd’s heroic Paralympic debut.
At just 17, the Kirkby ace, now at university in Swansea, claimed 400m freestyle gold, posting a new world record of 4:26.25 minutes, while also helping himself to 200m individual medley bronze.
However, Hynd insists he is looking forward not back this year as he attempts to send a message to his international rivals at July’s European showdown in Berlin.
“It’s not long until London now and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Hynd.
“There’s a lot of hard work to be done before then but if I can do well at the Europeans in Berlin that will be a great stepping stone.
“I went to Beijing so I have something to compare it against. It’s going to be absolutely phenomenal.
“Where they had a home crowd cheering them on last time, that’s going to be us this time, so I’m sure it’s going to be a really big boost.”
Hynd was a relative unknown heading into the Chinese Games but has shown no signs of letting up since his Beijing breakthrough.
At the corresponding European showdown in Iceland in 2009 the Mansfield ace helped himself to three golds and silver.
And while the attention on the London Games is already threatening to hit fever pitch Hynd believes he is ready to deal with the hype.
“There will be a mass of media, cameras, Dictaphones pointed at us which is what we need,” he added.
“It shows that people are interested and it’s raising the profile of the sport and that’s the reason we are growing. It’s going to be a big boost to everyone.
“We are very lucky in this country. The media have a great interest in Paralympic sport. It’s grown over the years. I’ve only been in the sport at elite level since 2007 and that’s when I first experienced the media side of it and since then its improved loads.
“London is going to be the main pathway to everything else so we need to get massive success there and it will only grow after that.”
l Hynd and Mansfield’s Charlotte Henshaw have been selected for the GB team to compete at the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester in May - full story next week.
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