Me and My Kit: Ian Hayden: Paralympic athlete

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The Independent Online
FIRST of all, I pack my warm-up javelins, discuses and shots. Then I need spikes to drive into the ground, the straps that attach the spikes to the throwing frame, a strap that goes round me, a cushion, straps for my legs and a big hammer to drive the spikes into the ground. I also have towels, water, and sticky tape for my hands.

The spikes are 14in long, and I have four of them. They are set up in different positions according to the person's throwing action - if you're hitting the back of the wheelchair, like I do, you need to drive them into the ground at the back and front, for example.

The chair is built by IDD, a company in Bishop Auckland, and they've made a frame that the wheelchair sits on, bolted to it. The wheelchair drops into two slots at the front and you then take the back wheels off.

The absolute ideal is to have a wheelchair that can be put into everyday use and adapted for competition, with a frame that's easily collapsible. We've been working on it for most of this year, but we haven't quite achieved it yet]

Ian Hayden, who gained two gold medals and one silver at the 1988 Paralympic Games in Seoul, won Britain's first medal of the Barcelona Paralympics on Friday, a silver in the shot. He competes tomorrow in the javelin and discus.

(Photograph omitted)

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