Building blocks in place for Paralympian Henson ahead of Tokyo 2020 push

Yahoo Sport UK
(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

It has been a busy few years for Paralympic medallist Dave Henson – but the Southampton athlete wouldn’t have it any other way.

Silver in the T42 200m at the 2016 European Championships was followed up just a few months later with bronze in the same event at the Paralympics in Rio, before winning another bronze at his home World Championships in London a year later.

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But with 2018 allowing him to ease off the pedal slightly, the 33-year-old is far from done and is honing in on his latest training routine – with less than two years to go until the next Games and Tokyo 2020.

“We came out the back of the Rio Paralympics and pushed into a home World Championships which was a big occasion, particularly for British athletes,” he said.

“Now post-London we’ve moved back into that foundation stage to build all those necessary ingredients in the run up to Tokyo.

“I don’t think I’ve had the best season this year at times, but I think we’ve built on every single element of the race, from the start all the way through to the finish.

“We’ll see how that works out come the World Championships next year, which will give us a good indicator of where we are for Tokyo. But I’m really confident we’re in the right place.”

Henson lost both of his legs – his right above the knee and his left through it – after he stood on an improvised explosive device whilst serving as a Second Lieutenant in the Engineer Regiment, in Afghanistan.

Since then, he discovered an insatiable appetite for sport, competing in wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball, as well as open-water swimming.

But it is on the track where Henson truly prospered, and he has not looked back since his appearance at the inaugural Invictus Games in 2012.

And, whilst it may well have become entrenched in the parlance of sporting clichés in recent years, Henson is now concentrating fully on the marginal gains of his sport – something that he believes will stand him in good stead looking forward.

“We try to not be so driven by the raw facts and look underneath all of these little data points, to give us an indictor to where we are,” continued Henson, who helped thank The National Lottery players by taking part in the #teamparkrun initiative in Southampton last Saturday

“My start is better, my bend is better, my top speed is better, so all the different elements are there.

“Having worked on them all individually, it’s tying them together into that full package which is yet to happen, I’ll be honest about that.

“Because all those individual elements are better, we have that faith, and that understanding and that belief that it’s all there, and it’s backed up by data so just a little bit more work, and we’ll be there.

To thank the public for their support through playing The National Lottery, Britain’s top athletes will volunteer as tail walkers at parkrun events across the UK from 18 August to 9 September. Everyone is welcome at #teamparkrun – be part of it!

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