Colman's relief at bronze medal

CHAMPION Geelong wheelchair athlete Richard Colman tonight has the chance to advance to the final of the 800m, just two days after claiming bronze in the London Paralympics.

Colman has the quickest personal best time of any competitor in the T53 800m event, and will be in with a shot at a second medal in his 2012 Paralympic campaign.

The 27-year-old, who also won bronze in the 400m at Beijing in 2008, was relieved to have made the podium.

"It's a good feeling that I've finally done that first 400m," Colman said. "It's been a long four years a tough past year and I'm glad I've got a medal here (in London) and all the hard work has paid off."

Colman, competing in his third summer paralympics, admitted he battled the elements.

"I thought I was going quicker than I was in the first 200m but I think the wind took its toll on all of us," he said.

"I just didn't have the kick home in the last 150m and I didn't get close enough to the Chinese fellow as I wanted to. I wanted to be right on him with 150m to go and I just couldn't do it. I'll go back to the drawing board in four more years."

Colman revealed he had endured a difficult 12 months.

"This is one of the toughest years I've had. It's been rough and there's been a lot of downs and this (bronze medal) is finally a good up," he said.

"There's been a lot of injuries, a lot of things going wrong and I'm glad it's all come good at the right time.

Hopefully as the week goes on I'll get into more race shape and hopefully stay injury free."

The 800m final is on tomorrow night.

London Paralympic gold medallist Kelly Cartwright contested round one of the women's T42 100m as the Geelong Advertiser went to print last night.

Fellow Geelong Paralympian Jess Gallagher competes in the women's F13 long jump final on Saturday afternoon while Sam McIntosh contests the men's T52 200m heats on Saturday night.

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