John McFall (athlete)


John McFall (athlete)

Infobox Athlete
name = John McFall


imagesize = 160px
club =
birthdate = birth date and age|1981|4|25|df=yes
birthplace = Frimley, Surrey, England, UK
height =
weight =
country = flagcountry|Wales
flagcountry|Great Britain
turnedpro = 2005
retired =
coaching =
worlds = 100 m (T42): gold – 2007 IWAS World Wheelchair and Amputee Games; silver – 2007 Visa Paralympic World Cup; silver – 2006 IPC World C'ships
200 m (T42): gold – 2007 IWAS World Wheelchair and Amputee Games; gold – 2007 Visa Paralympic World Cup; bronze – 2006 IPC World C'ships; bronze – 2005 IPC Open European C'ships
highestranking = 100 m: 2nd (2007)citation|title=World wide ranking: T42 Male 100 2007|url=http://athletics.iwasf.com|publisher=International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation|accessdate=2008-05-30; see also citation|title=Victorious Connor just off his record|url=http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/sports/story.html?id=16272e84-ba42-4551-82e0-2a2a25446e3d&k=33532|newspaper=Edmonton Journal|date=11 August 2007.]
200 m: 1st (2007)citation|title=World wide ranking: T42 Male 200 2006|url=http://athletics.iwasf.com|publisher=International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation|accessdate=2008-05-30.]
pb = 60 m: 8.55 s (2005)citation|title=Sparkassen-Cup 2006, Stuttgart, 04.02.2006|url=http://www.leichtathletik.de/dokumente/ergebnisse/ergebnislisten2006/s-cup_040206.pdf|publisher=Leichtathletik.de|date=4 February 2006|accessdate=2008-05-30.]
100 m: 12.70 s (2007)citation|title=John McFall: Profile|url=http://www.ukathletics.net/fans/athlete-profiles/john-mcfall/|publisher=UK Athletics|accessdate=2008-05-26.]
200 m: 26.02 s (2006)
paralympics = 2008 Summer Paralympics: 100 m – Bronze
lastupdate = 14 September 2008

John McFall (born 25 April 1981) is a Cardiff-based British Paralympic sprinter. In 2000, when he was 19 years old, his right leg was amputated above the knee following a serious motorcycle accident. Undaunted, he took up running again after being fitted with a prosthesis, and participated in his first race in 2004. The following year, he was selected to represent Great Britain at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) European Championships, and took the bronze medal in the 200 metres (sport class T42).

In the 100-metre sprint, McFall subsequently won silver medals at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships in 2006 and the Visa Paralympic World Cup in 2007. On 6 July 2007, he was placed third at the Meeting Gaz de France in Paris, part of the ÅF Golden League; and achieved his personal best time (as at 30 May 2008) in the 100 metres of 12.70 seconds by winning silver at the Bayer International Track and Field Competition in Leverkusen on 10 August of that year. In his other main event, the 200 metres, he achieved a bronze in the 2006 IPC World Championships, and a gold at the 2007 Visa Paralympic World Cup with a competition record time of 26.84 seconds. In September 2007, McFall was champion in both the 100 metres and 200 metres at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Wheelchair and Amputee Games. He was ranked first in the world in 2007 for the 200 metres, and second for the 100 metres.

McFall, who has been called one of the fastest men in the world over 100 metres and 200 metres in the class of above-the-knee amputees, competed for Great Britain in the 100 metres (T42) at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, winning the bronze in a time of 13.08 seconds.

Early years and education

John McFall was born on 25 April 1981citation|title=Athletics, Men's 100m – T42, Final|url=http://www.paralympic.org/release/Summer_Sports/Athletics/assen_2006.pdf|publisher=International Paralympic Committee|date=9 September 2006|accessdate=2008-05-27.] in Frimley, Surrey, [citation|title=Athlete biography: McFALL John|url=http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRMP/ENG/BIO/Athlete/5/1206585.shtml|publisher=Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad|year=2008|accessdate=2008-09-14.] [Some sources indicate that McFall was born in Hampshire: see, for instance, citation|author=Carolyn Hitt|title=Disabled athlete left without a leg to run on|url=http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/news/columnists/tm_objectid=16617086&method=full&siteid=50082&headline=disabled-athlete-left-without-a-leg-to-run-on-name_page.html|newspaper=Western Mail|date=23 January 2006 and citation|title=Amputee races on to chase dreams|url=http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=161818&command=displayContent&sourceNode=161644&contentPK=20480062&folderPk=88499&pNodeId=161375|newspaper=South Wales Evening Post|date=26 April 2008.] in England. Between 1994 and 1997 he attended school at Millfield in Street, Somerset,citation|title=Triumph over adversity|url=http://www.millfieldsociety.co.uk/sport/athletics.html|publisher=Old Millfieldian Society|year=2008|accessdate=2008-05-28.] where as a teenager he was a runner and hockey player.citation|author=Simon Hart|title=Road to Beijing Olympics: John McFall|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/olympics/ubmcfall.xml|newspaper=The Daily Telegraph|date=18 April 2008.] In August 2000 while on a gap-year trip to Ko Samui, Thailand, after his A-levels, he was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. While riding a moped, he went round a corner too quickly and skidded. He put out his leg to stop the motorcycle from falling over, and smashed his knee. The motorcycle then fell on him, resulting in the chain severing major blood vessels in his leg.citation|author=Julia Stuart [interviewer] |title=Personal column: Walking tall|url=http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/personal-column-walking-tall-444708.html|newspaper=The Independent|date=15 April 2007.] He was flown to a hospital in Bangkok, but as he had damaged his lower right leg too severely, it had to be amputated above the knee after three days.citation|author=Carolyn Hitt|title=Disabled athlete left without a leg to run on|url=http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/news/columnists/tm_objectid=16617086&method=full&siteid=50082&headline=disabled-athlete-left-without-a-leg-to-run-on-name_page.html|newspaper=Western Mail|date=23 January 2006.] Upon returning to the UK, he spent about seven weeks undergoing rehabilitation at Queen Mary's Hospital in Roehampton, London.

McFall spent the next year at home, during which he took up mountain biking and climbing and worked as a fitness instructor at his local leisure centre. He also started running in the summer of 2003 as soon as he had his prosthesis fitted: "I love that sound of air rushing past your ears and the freedom of it. I missed that and I wanted to get that back." After taking up his place at Swansea University to pursue a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in sport and exercise science, he practised on the university's running track and also trained with a local running club, the Swansea Harriers Athletic Club.citation|title=Amputee races on to chase dreams|url=http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=161818&command=displayContent&sourceNode=161644&contentPK=20480062&folderPk=88499&pNodeId=161375|newspaper=South Wales Evening Post|date=26 April 2008.] However, he found running difficult and uncomfortable as his prosthesis was not designed for the purpose, and frequently got damaged. Upon making inquiries at the Federation of Disability Sport Wales (FDSW), he was introduced to carbon-fibre running "blades". He graduated from university with a upper second-class honours degree in summer 2004, taking part in his first race at the Disability Sports Events (DSE) Championships in the UKcitation|author=John McFall|title=Beijing Diary by John McFall|url=http://www.ukathletics.net/media/news/june-2008/18-06-08-mcfall-diary/|publisher=UK Athletics|date=18 June 2008|accessdate=2008-08-04.] the same year.

In September 2004 McFall embarked on postgraduate studies in sport and exercise science at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), subsequently graduating with a Master of Science (M.Sc.). He took pre-medical examinations in 2008, and plans to retire from athletics after his 2009 season to train as a doctor.citation|author=Sheryl Garratt|title=Britain's Olympic athletes: Crunch time|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/portal/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/portal/2008/07/26/sm_olympics126.xml|magazine=The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Magazine)|date=26 July 2008.]

Athletics career

With his sprinting prosthesis, McFall began training with an ex-Paralympian. In early 2005 former Welsh international athlete Darrell Maynard [citation|title=Athlete: John McFall|url=http://www.disabilitysportwales.org/performance/john-mcfall|publisher=Disability Sport Wales|year=2007|accessdate=2008-05-25.] took over as his coach and he began training with an able-bodied squad. He was selected to represent Great Britain at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) European Championships which took place in August 2005 in Espoo, Finland, a decision that greatly surprised him as he had not achieved the qualifying standard in races that summer. In the Championships, his first international competition, he took the bronze medal in the 200 metres and came fourth in the 100-metre race, [citation|author=Martin McElhatton|title=Gold for GB at IPC Open European Athletics Champs|url=http://www.sportfocus.com/newspub/story.cfm?ID=15324|publisher=SportFocus|date=25 August 2005|accessdate=2008-05-26.] having competed in sport class T42 (single amputation above the knee). [citation|title=IPC Athletics Classification Handbook|url=http://www.paralympic.org/release/Summer_Sports/Athletics/About_the_sport/Rules/IPC_Athletics_Classification_Handbook_2006.pdf|publisher=International Paralympic Committee|year=2006|page=15, para. 18.7; see also citation|author=Noel Thatcher|title=A classy system explained|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sportacademy/hi/sa/athletics/disability/newsid_2124000/2124796.stm|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-05-27.] McFall was subsequently placed on a funding programme, enabling him to become a full-time athlete.

At the end of January 2006, two weeks before the Sparkassen Cup in Stuttgart, Germany, McFall's car was stolen from the car park of the Welsh Institute of Sport where he worked part-time and trained. His customized running prosthesis worth £3,000 was in the boot. [citation|title=Athlete's prosthetic leg stolen|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/4633334.stm|publisher=BBC News|date=21 January 2006.] Following his appeal for the return of the prosthesis, he received a telephone call from two youths who said they "might be able to recover the lost leg" but asked "What is it worth?" Infuriated, McFall refused to pay anything and asked the youths whether they had considered what being an amputee was like. After McFall agreed to take no further action against them, the youths anonymously returned the prosthesis to the Institute a week later. [citation|title=Athlete's stolen leg is returned|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/4652268.stm|publisher=BBC News|date=26 January 2006.] citation|title=John loses a leg – and finds two!|url=http://www.ottobock.co.uk/cps/rde/xbcr/ob_uk_en/Summer06.pdf|journal=Insight|publisher=Otto Bock|date=June 2006|page=11.] McFall went on to achieve a personal best of 8.55 seconds in the 60 metres race, and 28.21 seconds in the 200 metres on 4 February.

His next major races were in September 2006 at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships, where he was awarded a silver medal in the 100 metres and a bronze in the 200 metres.citation|title=Athletics, Men's 200m – T42, Final|url=http://www.paralympic.org/release/Summer_Sports/Athletics/assen_2006.pdf|publisher=International Paralympic Committee|date=5 September 2006|accessdate=2008-05-28. See also citation|author=Tony Garrett|title=Encouraging signs|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/disability_sport/5346322.stm|publisher=BBC Sport|date=14 September 2006.] The following year, on 13 May 2007, McFall struck gold and achieved a competition record time of 26.84 seconds in the 200 metres in his "début" at the Visa Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, England;citation|title=T42 – 200 metres, Men, Event 2, Results|url=http://www.paralympic.org/release/Summer_Sports/Athletics/combined_files_athletics.pdf|publisher=International Paralympic Committee|date=13 May 2007|accessdate=2008-05-27.] he also garnered a silver in the 100 metres.citation|title=T42 – 100 metres, Men, Event 15, Results|url=http://www.paralympic.org/release/Summer_Sports/Athletics/combined_files_athletics.pdf|publisher=International Paralympic Committee|date=13 May 2007|accessdate=2008-05-27. See also citation|author=Elizabeth Hudson|title=GB's Rushgrove breaks world mark|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/disability_sport/6652491.stm|publisher=BBC Sport|date=13 May 2007.] Subsequently, on 6 July 2007, he was placed third at the Meeting Gaz de France in Paris, part of the ÅF Golden League.citation|title=Men – National – 100m T42|url=http://www.meetinggazdefrance.com/en/meeting_2008/resultats2007.html?file=en/re0010041.html&t=7|publisher=Meeting Gaz de France|date=July 2007|accessdate=2008-05-28. See also citation|author=Elizabeth Hudson|title=McFall aims to grab Golden chance|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/disability_sport/6274292.stm|publisher=BBC Sport|date=5 July 2007; citation|title=McFall claims third in Paris race|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/disability_sport/6279282.stm|publisher=BBC Sport|date=6 July 2007.]

McFall achieved his personal best time (as at 30 May 2008) in the 100 metres of 12.70 seconds by winning silver at the Bayer International Track and Field Competition in Leverkusen, Germany, on 10 August 2007. Later that year he was champion in both the 100 metres and 200 metres at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Wheelchair and Amputee Games in Chinese Taipei held from 9 to 19 September 2007.citation|title=McFall has golden fortunes in Taiwan|url=http://www.disabilitysportwales.org/news/mcfall-has-golden-fortunes-in-taiwan|publisher=Disability Sport Wales|year=September 2007|accessdate=2008-05-28. See also citation|title=Medals for Britain at IWAS World Games|url=http://www.paralympics.org.uk/show_news.asp?section=000100010006&itemid=1846&itemTitle=Medals+for+Britain+at+IWAS+World+Games&print=1|publisher=ParalympicsGB, British Paralympic Association|date=September 2007|accessdate=2008-05-28; citation|author=Bob Cypher|title=Athletics: McFall strikes double sprint gold in Taiwan|url=http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/sports/athletics-news/tm_headline=athletics-mcfall-strikes-double-sprint-gold-in-taiwan&method=full&objectid=19804462&siteid=50082-name_page.html|newspaper=South Wales Echo|date=17 September 2007; citation|title=John McFall does the double in Taiwan|url=http://www.sports-council-wales.org.uk/news/16518|publisher=Sports Council Wales|date=14 September 2007|accessdate=2008-05-28; citation|title=Early success for Brits in Taipei|url=http://www.ukathletics.net/press-centre/news-archive/september-2007/article-20/?vAction=swpTextOnly|publisher=UK Athletics|date=September 2007|accessdate=2008-05-28; citation|title=McFall does the Golden Double in Taiwan|url=http://www.welshathletics.org/news/archive-news/september-news/mcfall-does-the-golden-double-in-taiwan/|publisher=Welsh Athletics|year=September 2007|accessdate=2008-05-28.] In 2007, he was ranked first in the world for the 200 metres, and second for the 100 metres.

McFall, who has been called "one of the fastest men in the world over 100m and 200m in the class of above-the-knee amputees", [citation|author=Sheryl Garratt|title=Final countdown online version: Beijing 2008 Olympics: Final countdown for six British hopefuls|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2008/03/26/nosplit/sm_olympics29a.xml|journal=The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Magazine)|date=29 March 2008] |pages=28 at 32–35.] made his Paralympic "début" for Great Britain in the 100 metres (T42) at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing. After a false start, [citation|title=GB's McFall grabs sprint bronze|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/disability_sport/7615161.stm|publisher=BBC Sport|date=14 September 2008|accessdate=2008-09-17.] he took the bronze medal in 13.08 seconds behind Canada's Earle Connor (12.32 seconds) and Germany's Heinrich Popow (12.98 seconds).citation|title=Athletics Day 7 morning session review: Eight of the best at the Bird's Nest|url=http://en.paralympic.beijing2008.cn/news/sports/athletics/n214601807.shtml|publisher=Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad|date=14 September 2008|accessdate=2008-09-14; citation|author=Gary Kingston|title=Paralympics: Redemption for Canada's Earle Connor as he cruises to sprinting gold|url=http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=62517fd9-fdce-490c-b164-3338e3a5e0b3|newspaper=The Vancouver Sun|date=14 September 2008.] Despite McFall's plans to retire from athletics after his 2009 season to study medicine, he has not ruled out competing at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. He has said, "It would be nice to do 2012. I'm interested in cycling and rowing, and I won't qualify as a doctor till 2013, so it wouldn't be impossible. We'll see. It's that constant striving for excellence, the hunger to do more."

Although McFall was born in England, he lives in Cardiff and competes professionally for Wales. He has said, "Wales has been very good to me and I want to put something back. So I'm very proud to run for Wales." According to him, his motorcycle accident "has been, in some ways, the best thing that ever happened to me. It's given me a focus, a drive, every day is a new challenge. ... I always had a list of goals and aspirations which didn't change after my accident – they just changed direction. Losing my leg has changed my life, but it hasn't changed who I am."

Medals

Personal life

Following the 2008 Paralympic Games, McFall plans to return to the UK from Beijing overland via the Trans-Siberian Railway. He intends to travel from China to Mongolia and Russia, across Russia to the Ukraine, then to Hungary, Croatia and the Dalmatian coast. From there he will take a ferry to Italy to meet his girlfriend in Rome. They then plan to travel by train across Italy and Austria, eventually returning to the UK around the middle of November 2008. [citation|author=John McFall|title=John McFall's Beijing diary|url=http://www.ukathletics.net/media/news/july-2008/29-07-08-mcfall-2/|publisher=UK Athletics|date=29 July 2008|accessdate=2008-08-04] He also hopes one day to take up his childhood plans of studying medicine, running across the Sahara Desert, crossing the Atlantic Ocean by rowboat, and obtaining a free-fall parachute licence.

In his free time, McFall enjoys playing the guitar. [" [http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1507785416/bclid1508311791/bctid1509866005 Life's a beach] ", video diary at Simon Hart (18 April 2008), "Road to Beijing Olympics: John McFall", "The Daily Telegraph".]

Notes

References

*citation|title=Amputee races on to chase dreams|url=http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=161818&command=displayContent&sourceNode=161644&contentPK=20480062&folderPk=88499&pNodeId=161375|newspaper=South Wales Evening Post|date=26 April 2008.
*citation|last=Hart|first=Simon|title=Road to Beijing Olympics: John McFall|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/olympics/ubmcfall.xml|newspaper=The Daily Telegraph|date=18 April 2008.
*citation|last=Hitt|first=Carolyn|title=Disabled athlete left without a leg to run on|url=http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/news/columnists/tm_objectid=16617086&method=full&siteid=50082&headline=disabled-athlete-left-without-a-leg-to-run-on-name_page.html|newspaper=Western Mail|date=23 January 2006.
*citation|title=John McFall: Profile|url=http://www.ukathletics.net/fans/athlete-profiles/john-mcfall/|publisher=UK Athletics|accessdate=2008-05-26.
*citation|last=Stuart|first=Julia [interviewer] |title=Personal column: Walking tall|url=http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/personal-column-walking-tall-444708.html|newspaper=The Independent|date=15 April 2007.
*citation|title=Triumph over adversity|url=http://www.millfieldsociety.co.uk/sport/athletics.html|publisher=Old Millfieldian Society|year=2008|accessdate=2008-05-28.

Further reading

*citation|title=Dame Tanni's final race|url=http://www.newswales.co.uk/?section=Sport&F=1&id=11266|publisher=NewsWales|date=28 April 2007|accessdate=2008-05-25.
*citation|title=John McFall's sprinting secrets|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/disability_sport/7344850.stm|publisher=BBC Sport|date=15 April 2008|accessdate=2008-05-25.
*" [http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1386356827/bctid1624415548 John McFall – running on edge] ", video diary from [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/olympics/ Telegraph TV] , "The Daily Telegraph". Retrieved on 5 August 2008.

External links

* [http://www.disabilitysportwales.org Official website of the Federation of Disability Sport Wales ("Chwaraeon Anabledd Cymru")]
* [http://www.ukathletics.net Official website of UK Athletics, the governing body for athletics in the UK]
* [http://www.welshathletics.org Official website of Welsh Athletics]
* [http://www.paralympics.org.uk ParalympicsGB – official website of the British Paralympic Association]

Persondata
NAME = McFall, John
ALTERNATIVE NAMES =
SHORT DESCRIPTION = British Paralympic sprinter
DATE OF BIRTH = 25 April 1981
PLACE OF BIRTH = Frimley, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
DATE OF DEATH =
PLACE OF DEATH =


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