Graeme Ballard

graham ballardGraeme  lives with his mum and dad. He was born in Manchester in 1979. Delivered thirteen-and-a-half weeks early, he weighed just 2lb. He was so tiny, with undeveloped lungs, he was starved of oxygen causing cerebral palsy.Doctors warned his parents that he would never walk, or talk, and wouldn’t make it beyond his teenage years. But, despite being told to put their only son into a home, dad Dennis and mum Barbara, were determined not to give up on him. With years of tests and hospital visits the Chorley-born couple wanted their son to have a better life, so they bought him a horse for his eighth birthday. This was a turning point for Graeme.

After taking up athletics at the age of 19 through a Cerebral Palsy Sport athletics event, Graeme’s para athletics career has gone from strength to strength.

Graeme first ran the Cerebral Palsy Sport nationals in September 1999 and has been a member of CP since then. He competed at CPISRA games in 2001 and gained 3 medals  – 2 individual medals and 1 relay.

His roll of achievements are recorded as:

  • 2002 World Championships in Lille 1 Bronze medal
  • 2003 European Championships in Assen 2 silver and 1 bronze
  • 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens  – won 1 bronze
  • 2005 Combined World & European Championships in Espoo – won 2 Gold medals and 1 recognised for World and 1 for European
  • 2006 World Championships in Assen – won 1 Silver
  • 2012 European Championships in  Holland – won 1 silver 1 bronze
  • 2012 Broke the world record 11.98 and won Paralympics Silver medal
  • 2013 World  Championships – won 1 Bronze
  • 2014 European Championships in Swansea – 2 Silvers
  • 2016 European Championships in Grossetto 2 silver

Although Graeme missed out on medals in 2008 and 2016 he was still a member of the British Para Athletics  team and also a member of the team at the World Championships in Christchurch, Doho and London where he came in 4th at all three competitions only just missing out on the medals.

In August 2018 Graeme won an incredible Gold medal at the World Para Athletics European Championships in Berlin for the  T36 100m with a season’s best time of 12.32 seconds seeing him ease to the line clear of the rest of the field.

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In addition to sprinting, Graeme has a keen interest in Football and he has not only competed for the national Football 7-a-side team but also competed at a national level in Swimming. He supports Liverpool FC and his sporting hero is Steven Gerrard.

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Graeme tells us how he felt when he was asked to be a Sporting Ambassador for CP Sport : “I’m absolutely thrilled to have been asked to be a Sporting Ambassador for CP Sport. In the past I’ve enjoyed taking part in their Sports and Athletics Days, and now it’s amazing for me to be an inspiration for children and young people with Cerebral Palsy, and show them how amazing getting involved in sport can make you feel!”

Graeme also capped off 14 years of international competition by being inducted into the Cerebral Palsy Sport Hall of Fame in October 2018. Congratulations Graeme.