Hammer thrower forged in Rugby reflects on the experience of a lifetime at Commonwealth Games - The Rugby Observer

Hammer thrower forged in Rugby reflects on the experience of a lifetime at Commonwealth Games

Rugby Editorial 9th Aug, 2022   0

THE THROW goes on for an athlete who honed his talent while growing up in Rugby, as he looks back on the experience of a lifetime at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Craig Murch said he would forever remember the ‘emotional’ day when he took centre stage at his first major championships on Saturday (August 6) to compete in the Men’s Hammer Throw.

And although the 29-year-old’s hopes of a medal were dashed after his preparations were hampered by illness in the week running up to the event, Craig is hoping to make it to the podium at the 2024 Olympics.

The former pupil of Rokeby, Ashlawn and Lawrence Sheriff Schools said stepping out in front of a sell-out crowd at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium made him very emotional.

He said: “It was the best experience I’ve had. It will stay with me forever.

“The crowd were immense. The support for the English throwers was just so loud! I’ll never experience anything like it again, I’m sure of that. Even athletes who have been to the Olympics said they’d never seen anything like it.

“I wasn’t nervous, I didn’t feel the pressure – I just soaked it all in. Representing England will always have a special place in my heart.”

Craig, who from a young age honed his skills at Rugby and Northampton Athletics Club before moving to Gloucester five years ago, finished eighth – a performance he describes as ‘exceptional’ given his disrupted preparations.

“I performed the best I could under the circumstances,” he said. “I was feeling fatigued and I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it.

“There were guys in the competition who should have beaten me hands down, given I was only throwing at 90 per cent – but they didn’t.

“I was in really good shape before I was ill and was hoping to make a throw which would have won me a medal.

“There’s a part of me which is always going to wonder ‘what if’, but you can’t change what happens in life.”

Although it is now back to reality and the full-time job for company director Craig, he says it’s an exciting time for him as he looks forward to getting back to training to ‘do myself justice’.

“It has motivated me to target the Paris Olympics in 2024,” he said. “I’m looking forward to giving that a go.

“Birmingham 2022 was my first major games – and, wow it was special!”


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