James is just a star discus thrower!

James Tomlinson

James Tomlinson
James Tomlinson in action

James picks up a discus

After sustaining a nasty injury last season, top young discus thrower James Tomlinson, who hails from Pembroke Dock, has bounced back in terrific style to produce a series of throws in a recent competition in Swansea that not only rank him as No 1 in his age group in Wales and the UK but at the time of writing, the proud possessor of the best throw in Europe!
?James Tomlinson in actionIt proved a pivotal moment for James and was terrific reward for the way that he refused to let his concerns over the effects of his injury cause him to even remotely consider the prospect of not being able to continue climbing up the discus ladder and achieve his long term ambitions after so much hard previous work.

Going well last season

The season before had been a very good one where James won the Welsh Schools' title at Leckwith Stadium in Cardiff to qualify for the British Schools' International Athletics Board Championships in Grangemouth, Scotland, which he won with a good throw of around 53 metres.
Later in Cardiff he threw 56.15 metres, 15cms over the qualifying distance for the World under 18 Championships in Colombia, South America but at 15 years of age was too young under the rules to compete there.

Events take a dramatic twist

It was a marvelous feat but his campaign suddenly took a dramatic turn when he sustained two laterally compressed discs in his spine that trapped a nerve. It was very debilitating and understandably of great concern for someone who throws a discus so far.
Fortunately, James had terrific winter support from Welsh Athletics including Dr Liba Sheeran, who is consultant physiotherapist with Welsh and UK Athletics, and Matthew Archer, Strength and Conditioning Coach with Sport Wales, who were very reassuring after MRI scans in Swansea revealed that the original terrifying diagnosis of a broken back had been reduced to the double-disc prognosis!

Superb support from family and others

James"I was very relieved," admitted James, “and although it meant regular weekly treks of over 400 miles for physio my parents, Kevin and Elizabeth, were amazing as they never once grumbled about their increased work load in taking me wherever I needed!"
Ask James about other support he has been given and he would naturally be quick to mention not only his family but also praise the efforts of his coach, ex-Welsh national throws coach Paul Jenson and Matthew Rosser, who is father of his training partner Awen Rosser, who gives him advice and encouragement aplenty.

Care at on return pays huge dividends

As part of the come-back process, he started to work-out indoors on a carefully planned process in December and by the time that March came around he ventured out for the first time and following a few nervous exploratory throws, started to throw well almost straight away.
“All I wanted to do at first was test my back and I wasn't really interested in where I was planting my feet!"
“But then in Newport, I threw over 50 metres as a very nice foundation for the whole campaign and then came the next event, in Swansea, where I beat my previous Welsh record three times, including a massive throw of 58.93 metres, which was absolutely amazing!”
This marvelous performance saw him win by a distance and was well in excess of the 55m qualifying distance needed to make him eligible for possible selection to GB & NI team for the forthcoming European Athletics Youth Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia, in July. Like other aspiring top young athletes, James now has a nervous wait for the team to be announced!

Terrific commitment shown by James

Proof of the commitment needed at this high level can be gauged from the fact that James trains relentlessly, with just one day off a week for some rest and recuperation.
Monday sees James working at his overall strength alongside some conditioning work, followed by cardio exercises and rehab on Tuesday before he travels to Carmarthen on Wednesday for some throwing practice and building on techniques.
Then on Thursday there is lots of work on his core strength and more conditioning before he gets in the swimming pool on Fridays as a means of relaxation, allied to some good old-fashioned physical exercise - and then on Saturdays it's back to Swansea for more technical work on his throwing before a deserved rest on Sundays!

Parents a great help – and still involved with the Pembrokeshire Harriers

"It also means that my parents can get some free time of their own because they do anything that is needed to see I have the best of everything and I just can't thank them enough for their support."
Kevin can also be called upon to join James at the sports field at Bush School on other quiet occasions, just to get him some more throwing practice!
James still trains whenever he can with the Pembrokeshire Harriers and is full of praise for the support and encouragement he has received there, especially in his formative years when he first took up discus throwing.

And finally . . .

So what of the future for this talented young athlete in his specialised discipline of discus throwing?
He has already been invited as a guest thrower at the Welsh Senior competition which will include Olympic thrower Brett Morse, but using a 1.5kg discus whereas the seniors will each be using a 2kg discus.
Then it will be off to the British World Junior trials where he will again compete as a guest with the lighter discus and gain vital experience against some of the very best under 23 male throwers around.
"If conditions are good at our next competition, in Bedfordshire then I would be thrilled to break 60 metres as further proof of my progress - and then the next target will be to break the British record of 62.93 metres.
"It is still a little way off but I have to be positive in my approach because then I know that all my hard work in training, and total commitment to my sport, will pay off!"