HAMMER thrower Amir Williamson has had a long, hard battle to get to his first Commonwealth Games – but he never once gave up.
The 27-year-old, from Linford, near Stanford-le-Hope, had set his sights on a place in Glasgow ever since missing out on the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi four years ago.
But he has had to balance training with his full-time job as a firefighter based at East Greenwich, which is anything but a normal nine-to-five.
“It’s hard,” said Williamson. “I can have a 13-hour night shift, drive home in the morning, get my training kit and go on straight to training.
“It’s been my aim ever since I missed out on the last Commonwealths in Delhi. My nan passed away in the run-up to those Games which knocked me quite a bit, but since then I’ve focused on this.
“It’s been a long, hard four years. But I have been working hard and enjoying the sport again. If I wasn’t enjoying it, there is no way I could still be doing it.
“And it shows, if you enjoy what you do, anything can happen.”
Williamson, a former GB junior international, admits selection for the Games was close to being “make or break”, but now he is in the team he hopes it can be a stepping stone to bigger things.
“I didn’t want to spend a lifetime chasing but now I’ve made it I’m hoping it can be a springboard,” he said. “There’s the World Championships next year and the Olympics the year after that.”
Williamson is in the minority as a part-time athlete in the 129-member squad.
And that has presented additional problems for the London firefighter as he tries to get time off work.
But he says his bosses at London Fire Brigade have been nothing but helpful.
“When you get selected for a championship you have to organise your life,” he said. “I’m not fortunate enough to be a full time athlete, I have to sort work out.
“Fortunately, they have been great and will support me.
“It’s not easy holding down a job and training as best as you can, but you can do it. I’ve been in the sport for 13/14 years and I’ve seen all the excuses. You just have to get on with it.”