After making his Team GB debut in 2018, Thomas Young is currently preparing to make his Paralympic debut for Team GB after qualifying in June for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games where he will be competing in the T38 100m race later this month. Thomas is the current British Champion after winning Gold at this year’s Championships and he also won Gold at the European Championships in June. Ahead of the Paralympics, Thomas spoke to us about qualifying for Tokyo 2020, how he’s preparing for the Games and winning the T38 100m Gold at this year’s European Championships.
How did it feel booking your Team GB place for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games?
After a successful summer and past few seasons I was expecting to get the phone call, but it still felt great! It has always been a dream of mine to go to Tokyo 2020, since 2013.
What are you most looking forward to for competing in Tokyo and making your Paralympic debut?
Competing, even though fans might not be able to watch it will still be one of the best days of my life when I step out on the track on August 28th.
You qualified for the Paralympics in June and won the T38 100m Gold at the European Championships, how was it competing at the Championships and what do you remember most from your race?
Not much, after the bang I go into the zone completely. Every now and then I will get random flashbacks from part of my race. Bydgoszcz as a competition was really fun, it was nice to be back at a major champs again.
Can you tell us about some of the other competitions you’ve been doing over recent months?
I raced at the British Championships and became British Champion for the first time. After narrowly missing the gold in 2020 it was nice to do one better this year. At the British Championships we race a mixed classification race so I am racing against other British Paralympic athletes who may have a different classification to me.
What are some of your other career highlights, which has included making your GB debut in 2018?
Winning all my races, as athletes we all love to win, and I really hate not winning.
I’ve always been a very competitive person and feel sad if I don’t win or don’t perform as well as I know I can.
What is a typical training day for you in the lead-up to a competition and how will you be preparing for the Games in Tokyo?
I just make sure I am running quick and performing in training. My preparation in Tokyo will just be as normal as possible, eat, train and sleep, but just as importantly, still have fun. If you can’t enjoy yourself at major champs your performance will be affected, so it’s really important to still have a laugh and have fun.
Do you have a technique to stay in the right mindset before a race and how do you stay focused on the day?
I love to win, so I use winning as my main focus, but I will also just stay relaxed.
Have you been given any advice during your career so far that has stuck with you and what advice would you give a para-athlete starting out?
The sport will change your life, so always enjoy the sport and when you compete go out there and make sure you leave knowing you’ve tried your best.
How did you first get into athletics and had you always wanted to take it up professionally?
For a long time I did athletics at school and for my local club. I then met my current coach Joe who introduced me to parasport and I’ve been running ever since.
Did you have any athletes that inspired you when growing up?
What do you enjoy doing away from your career and are there any other sports you like to watch?
I am a big Fulham fan, so before COVID I would train on a Saturday morning and then try and get to matches if possible before the 3pm kick-off.
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