11 April 1988 |
Kenfig Hill, Wales
|Coached by||Anthony Hughes|
|Achievements and titles|
|Paralympic finals||2006 Winter
|Personal best(s)||Javelin: 41.37m|
Nathan Stephens (born 11 April 1988) is a former Paralympian athlete from Wales competing mainly in category F57-58 throwing events. He was until September 2012 the world record holder in the F57 javelin throw.
Life and sports
Stephens was born in Kenfig Hill in Bridgend, South Wales. At the age of nine an accident on a railway line resulted in the loss of both of his legs. He started swimming for the Dragons Disabled Swimming Club before moving on to other sports. As a youth he joined the Cardiff Huskies ice sledge hockey team, which led to an interest in sport. He began competing in athletic competitions in 2003 at the age of 15, winning the gold in discus, javelin and shot put at the Junior British Championship. He continued his success into the senior field and at the age of 16 he broke the British senior record in all three throwing events. In 2006 he took part in his first Paralympics when he represented the Great Britain ice sledge hockey team at the 2006 Winter Paralympics, having represented the team at both the 2004 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships and the 2005 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey European Championships.
Stephens competed in three events in the 2008 Summer Paralympics, finishing 11th in discus, 8th in shot put and 4th in the javelin. In 2011, Stephens won the gold at the Paralympic Athletics World Championships in New Zealand, recording a lifetime best of 39.11 metres in the javelin. He followed this up by recording a world record, at the Czech Athletics Open in Olomouc, in the men's F57 javelin with a distance of 41.37 metres.
In April 2012 he qualified in the javelin for the 2012 Summer Paralympics and was selected by sponsors as an ambassador for the British team. Expectations were high for Stephens going into the games as World champion, but his throwing style was judged illegal and he was red flagged on his first two throws. His final throw was poor and he finished 10th in his event, failing to qualify for the final round. Stephens later complained that in the previous 2011 World Championships his action was deemed legal, and was deeply unhappy at the official's decision. The London games also saw him lose his world record to Brazilian athlete Claudiney Batista dos Santos, who recorded a distance of 45.38 metres.
In 2012 he married Charlene Stephens, using prosthetics to dance with her and walk down the aisle.
- "World Paralympic javelin gold for Nathan Stephens". BBC Sport. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
- Henry, Graham (15 December 2011). "Tragic incident led to sporting success for Kenfig Hill athlete Nathan Stephens". Wales Online. walesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
- "Nathan Stephens, Athletics". abilityvability.co.uk. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
- "Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games – Athletics: Men's Javelin F57/58". paralympic.org. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
- "Nathan Stephens breaks javelin world record". BBC Sport. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
- "Welsh athletes that have been selected for the 2012 Paralympics in London". BBC Sport. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
- "Paralympic star Stephens: I'll never throw in the towel". Daily Mirror. 21 May 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- "Men's Javelin Throw – F57/58 – Paralympic Athletics". london2012.com. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Paralympics 2012: Nathan Stephens suffers javelin heartbreak". BBC Sport. 8 September 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.