A shot put para athlete from Kamloops B.C., has won his second silver medal in nearly four months. This time, he won at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Greg Stewart, 33, won silver in the men’s F46 classification shot put final on Nov. 15, throwing 16.30 metres. He previously won silver at the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru in September.
Athletes in the F46 class either have a single below or above the elbow amputation or an upper-limb injury or deficiency.
Stewart is seven feet two inches tall and has taken to shot put in a major way. He has only been training in shot put since September 2017. In his rookie season in para athletics in 2018, he was ranked number one in the world in F46 men’s shot put.
“[The championships] was a pretty cool experience … But I’m still learning. I’m just a baby, a rookie in this sport. Right now it’s just a bit of a trial and error,” Stewart told Shelley Joyce, host of CBC’s Daybreak Kamloops.
The athlete credits a lot of his success in para athletics to his coach Dylan Armstrong — a now-retired Olympic bronze medallist in shot put at the 2008 Games in Beijing.
Stewart went to watch the championship games in Dubai nearly two weeks before he competed himself.
“I got to watch other athletes compete— [to] see the highs and lows. I got to look at myself and determine where I stand or if I should even be there. Am I a good enough athlete?” Stewart said.
“There were so many trials and tribulations. For me, it was actually quite an emotional roller coaster for the first few days.”
Stewart says he feels on an equal playing field with his competitors, but says that, at seven feet two inches, his height can be intimating to some.
“I know there’s some nervousness around it. But [for] anybody who”s ever met me before, I’m kind of a teddy bear in a way … kind of a soft giant.”
Up next, Stewart will travel to various competitions for the 2020 Para Grand Prix to check out the competition in other countries. After that … he’s hoping to head to Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Paralympics.
“But between now and then, it’s going to be a lot of focusing on technique … focusing on getting stronger.”