Graeme boosts chances of London 2012 place

Graeme Paterson from Duns who has been selected for Great Britain's paralympics football team.

Graeme Paterson from Duns who has been selected for Great Britain's paralympics football team.

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DUNS’ Graeme Paterson is just one of many athletes across Great Britain who have designs on a spot in Team GB for London 2012, except his chances have now been boosted courtesy of an invite to Great Britain’s Paralympic Football team’s first training camp next month.

Graeme, of Hawthorn Bank, spoke to ‘The Berwickshire News’ just a few hours after he found out the good news and he was understandably thrilled.

“I really didn’t know what to expect what it came to being in the GB football squad,” he said.

“I’ve not long been back from the World Championships over in Holland and although I did well I’m not sure how much the GB coaches will have got to see of me. They also coach the England team, who were also over there, so obviously they will have spent more time with them.”

Well the Team GB coaches might have spent more time with the England team during the Dutch tournament, but they had more reason to be impressed with Graeme and his fellow Scottish players as they finished four places higher than their rivals, something Graeme isn’t going to forget in a hurry!

“We put in a good performance over there; we lost our first match against Ukraine 0-5 but then we beat Finland 10-0; Canada 4-1 and USA 3-2. We lost our final two matches against Brazil and Holland but we still did enough to finish 6th whereas England finished 10th.

“We didn’t really see much of the England boys while we were over there and I have to admit a few of us went along to their match against Argentina and cheered Argentina on.

“We had a bit of a celebration in our hotel when we finished higher than them!”

Now he’s been called up to travel to Lileshall, the old stomping ground of Michael Owen and other Premier League stars, Graeme will have to put the rivalry to one side and he said he was looking forward to seeing the English members of the squad, particularly now the Scots had bragging rights.

He continued: “There’s six Scottish lads in the squad and it’ll be good to see them again and also to mix with the English guys, and have a few jokes about the World championships. I’m really happy that the selectors have seen something in me again and I’m looking forward to going down to Lileshall.”

If everything goes well for Graeme over the next few months, he could find himself in the enviable quandry of having to choose between two sports for London 2012.

Over the past year he has been making great strides in his athletics career, under the watchful eye of Henry Gray, recording times just shy of the Paralympic qualifying time and he said he is really enjoying the new challenge.

He continued: “Since I’ve come back from the football World Championships I’ve been concentrating more on my athletics. At the moment I’m just a few seconds slower than the time I need for the Paralympics but I’m really hoping to achieve that in the next few weeks.

“I’ve been played football for five years now and I’ve loved it but I’m really excited about my athletics now. I’d love to be considered good enough for both; all I want to do in everything is be the best I can be.

“If I do get selected for both I’d have to have to sit down and seriously think about what’s the right decision for me.”