14th December 2018
MAGUIRE MOVING FORWARD
Coming into the Europeans, Nathan Maguire (coach: Ste Hoskins) was on an impressive run of form which had seen him improve every one of his personal bests from 100m up to 1500m. He left the championships as a quadruple medallist, taking a few notable scalps along the way.
We catch up with Nathan as he reflects upon an encouraging year personally, and what he has in store for 2019.
Competing in the highly competitive T54 wheelchair class, Maguire – at only 21 – has progressed well during 2018, starting his year at his first ever Commonwealth Games, posting improved times across the summer, and completing it with several trips onto the podium in Berlin.
But which moment stands out for him?
“I’d have to say the Europeans. My favourite race was the relay. Winning the individual medals was good but the relay was just phenomenal. We are in an individual sport, but I have come from basketball and I enjoyed that team environment and the support around you. It’s nice to warm-up with other people around you. Me, Soph (Hahn), Zac (Shaw) and Laura (Sugar) were just chatting; it was nice to not have anyone staring you down for once.
“I treated it just as seriously as my individual event, as did everyone else. It was an opportunity to win a gold medal for our country, so it was really important for all of us.”
After a stunning leg from Sophie Hahn, Maguire had a slight advantage over the French team in the quest for gold, but he knew he had to race his 100m professionally to guarantee a maiden moment on top of the podium. He delivered and earned his first European gold medal of his career.
The relay came at the end of a very long week for the Halton & Frodsham athlete, who faced dramas in some of his races, ultimately picking up three bronze medals.
“I don’t think I can pick a favourite. Every single one was different. Every race was more nerve-wracking than the last one. The 200m was first and that was actually the first ever international medal that I had won. So that was a special moment.
“The 800m was different because I crossed the line in joint-fifth, but I eventually moved up to bronze medal position after some disqualifications. So that was a nervous wait because I didn’t get my medal to the following day. (Alhassane) Balde (GER) who was disqualified came over and congratulated me and said that he had done something wrong. It was quite nice to think he wasn’t feeling ill of me for it.”
So, he left Berlin with four medals, adding a further bronze over 100m, but unfortunately missing out in the 400m due to a disqualification.
Nevertheless, Berlin provided a breakthrough moment for Maguire who has featured in British teams over the last three years. He made a big statement at the World Para Athletics Championships in London last year when he finished sixth in the T54 200m final, beating some of the big players in the class at the time, and he believes that went a long way to his progress this season.
“I went into that final [in 2017] as the slowest and youngest on paper but I finished sixth, so I was really happy. I felt like an international racer. I’m working my way up the ranks, so it was nice to get a few scalps. I think I’ve continued to do that and shocked a few people again this year.”
While he thrives on his continuous improvement, he knows that he will face two important challenges over the next two years, and he is ready to adapt as competition hots up at the Worlds next year and the Paralympics in 2020.
“My expectations for the worlds are different. I went into Europeans thinking ‘yes I can medal’. At the worlds, anything can happen. The pull for the worlds is amazing; we had 28 top guys there in 2017 so to come sixth in the 200m sort of cemented me in there. I’ll go and do my best and hopefully I can grab a medal.”