From Burghead to Beijing – Mark’s throwing his weight about

Mark Dry – aiming to raise the profile for hammer-throwers in Beijing

A MORAY ATHLETE has hit out at the second-rate nature in which throwers are treated compared to the more glamorous events in international athletics.

Burghead’s Mark Dry has worked tirelessly in his chosen discipline as a hammer thrower – and was thrilled when, competing for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games, he took a bronze medal.

Mark then broke the Scottish national record in May – one that had stood for 32 years, and this week will compete for Great Britain in the World Championships in Beijing.

These achievements have been reached more in spite of rather than because of any backing he has had, as throwers in the UK rarely if ever enjoy the sponsorship and financial support that other international athletes come to expect as a right.

“There is just that general attitude towards the throwers compared to other events in this country,” Mark said, adding: “There are different rivalries and coaching situations with so much going on.

“I throw 76.93 to get up to the top level of development funding when there are jokers on the A, B and C tiers and people on contracts left, right and centre. I don’t get kit off Nike – they fob me off with throwing shoes because I am not someone they’re looking to help, it’s disgusting.”

Mark did receive some lottery funding as a result of his medal-winning performance in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games – but unlike most athletes he still has to juggle two jobs as a school sports adviser and masseur with his training for international events.

This week Mark is determined to benefit from being part of the world championships experience: “Beijing is such a cultured place so I want to take care of the business then support the team and soak it all up.

“I’d be gutted if I don’t make the final – but if I get a good throw and don’t, I’ll accept that.”