JONATHAN Adams believes he can use his experience at London 2012 as a stepping stone to future medal success.
The teenage shot putter from Great Cornard made his Paralympic debut amid a wall of noise in the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday night, but was unable to progress to the second and final round of the competition.
His best throw of 9.84m, 0.37m short of his personal best, in the men’s F34 seated classification for athletes with cerebral palsy, saw him finish 14th out of 15 competitors to record a mark, with only the top eight going through to compete for a medal.
Although frustrated at his performance, he believes the experience can stand him in good stead for his dream of a medal at the next Paralympics in four years in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
The double world junior silver medallist, who hailed the support of his ‘spud army’, named after his mother’s nickname for him, said: “This isn’t the end, this is only the beginning of my career hopefully, I am only 19 and this is my first Games.
“To be involved in such a high class competition so young is obviously a great honour for me – to be out there has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I value it very much.”
Adams’ Loughborough training partner Dan West threw a British best of 11.37m to progress to the final, to the delight of Adams, who stayed out to watch on, but could not get higher than seventh.
Speaking of his own performance, which saw him throw 8.53m, 9.23m and then 9.84m, Adams said: “I was a little bit disappointed with it to tell the truth but I think the learning curve I have been through in this event was second to none.
“It outweighs the fact I did not perform to the best of my abilities and just to be out there with the crowd and in front of 80,000 people is something I will never forget.
“It has been great to be alongside Dan and have him as a mentor and to see him perform so well was obviously a big thing for me.
“I would have liked to have thrown further, of course, but you can’t always have it your own way in sport and you have to try and take the rough with the smooth and enjoy the experience and the opportunity you’ve been awarded.”
He added: “Hopefully I can build a bigger base for the future.”