Crates finishes 3rd in last ever 800m race

HEYBRIDGE-based former Paralympic champion Danny Crates failed in his bid to win his last ever 800m race coming in third at the London Grand Prix on Friday.

But it was still a fitting farewell to a remarkable athlete who in recent months has been struggling with a hamstring problem.

Crates, who won the T46 800m gold at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, said he was thrilled to have come third in his final race and wasn’t disappointed at not finishing first.

He finished behind winner Abraham Tarbei of Kenya and Poland’s Marcin Awizen.

“I wouldn’t have thought of any other way to finish than in front of a great crowd at Crystal Palace,” said Crates. “My son was there as well and it was just really special.”

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Crates, 36, could not defend his 2004 Athens gold in Beijing last year because of a calf injury but he did carry the British flag at the opening ceremony.

He added: “I had one of my most surreal moments crossing the finishing line.

“The Polish athlete, one of my main competitors, was dragging me down the home straight saying ‘c’mon Danny’,” he said afterwards. “It was an amazing, surreal moment and shows the camaraderie that you have in athletics sometimes.

“I shall miss it but I’ve enjoyed every minute and I have made many friends in the sport which has been tremendous.”

He made his decision to retire after having to pull up in the 800m race at the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester in May.

Crates, who lost his right arm in a car accident in Australia in 1994, says he has no regrets about retiring now because it was the sensibly thing to do.

“You can’t turn the clock back but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it all, the hard work, the heartache and of course winning,” he added.

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