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Local Athlete, Dillon Labrooy, Wins Gold and Bronze in Para Athletics European Championships

Published on: 15 Sep, 2018
Updated on: 17 Sep, 2018

Dillon Labrooy with his 400m bronze medal

By Amina Sahbegovic

A Guildford athlete was a double medal winner in August’s (2018) Para Athletics European Championships held in Berlin.

Dillon Labrooy achieved his goal of reaching the final in each of the events he competed in winning a bronze medal in the 400m (T54) and a gold in the Universal 4x100m Relay. He also finished 5th in the 800m and 1500m finals.

Dillon, who took up racing at the age of 15, says his confidence to compete as an athlete at the top level has improved with experience and this is reflected in his personal life too. He said: “It has given me another goal and purpose in life to pursue. I have also been able to meet a lot more disabled people through it and learn about their journeys as well.”

Since Dillon first watched him race at the 2012 Paralympics Games in London, where he won four medals, an inspiration for Dillon has been David Weir, known as “the Weirwolf”.

They now train together and Dillon says training with David pushes him to the sort of level he faces at the European Championships. He added: “it is a real privilege to be able to train with some of that calibre on a daily basis and be able to absorb the advice and knowledge he has.

“Training with him on the track has definitely helped me improve as I’m able to push myself harder to stay with him and attempt to go past him as well, which would simulate a real race situation.

“I am also being coached by Jenny Archer and training with the Weir Archer academy.”

Dillon does not have a sponsor as yet, but receives funding from SportsAid and the British Athletics Futures Programme which helps pay for travel costs, entry fees and equipment maintenance.

Outside his athletic career, Dillon has been an apprentice for 18 months at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, now working full-time as a HR administrator there. Combining a full time job and sports at an international level is not easy but Dillon says: “I manage it by just fitting in my training after work, sometimes straight after work. It is quite busy and exhausting, but I have got to keep pushing myself in order to get to the top.”

Dillon hopes to pass on an encouraging message to people with disabilities who take to the track in a wheelchair. He said: “If you believe you have the talent for something, go out and do it to the best of your ability. There is plenty of help out there now. I never imagined that I would be where I am at the moment and I have a long way to go yet, but anything is possible if you believe in yourself”.

Dillon at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia earlier this year where he came 5th in the T54 1500m.

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