Rain fails to dampen Hamer’s spirits

Tom Hamer during the welcome home parade in Manchester. Photo: Denise Foulds
Tom Hamer during the welcome home parade in Manchester. Photo: Denise Foulds

The heavens opened on Team GB’s homecoming Olympic heroes on Monday night.

ut former Burnley Bobcats swimmer admitted it was worth getting soaked to soak up the atmosphere after his double medal success in Rio.

The 18-year-old swimmer won silver in both the S14 200m freestyle and individual medal at the Paralympics,

And the Rossendale athlete smiled: “It was fantastic, someone gave me a flag, and everytime I waved to someone, everybody cheered – it was amazing, Manchester is amazing!

“Manchester have put on an unbelievable parade.

“I loved it.

“I was drenched but if I’m ill for a couple of weeks, it was well worth it!

“My family were on Deansgate as well, it was great to see them.

“I’m a local lad and they are so proud.”

Hamer has been back in Burnley since the Games, visiting his old club at St Peters, and was a guest of honour at Burnley’s recent 1-0 defeat against Arsenal at Turf Moor, and he added: “Since I’ve been back, the house has been busy, I’ve been going to loads of schools and inspiring kids, and I’ve loved it.

“My medals haven’t been in their box, they’ve always been out.

“They’re always on or someone is having a look!

“I had a talk with the Bobcats and it was fantastic.

“It all started out at Burnley Bobcats for me, and I’m very proud to be from Burnley.

“I was on the football against Arsenal and what an experience that was – it was a shame about the loss, but it was fantastic.”

And he has set his sights on improving on silver in Tokyo in 2020: “I’ve had five weeks off, my first training session back this morning was hard work.

“I’ve eaten loads of rubbish and I sunk to the bottom!

“But I feel I can go better, definitely, these two silvers are going to be golds! That’s my aim. I have the World Championships next year and the Commonwealth Games the year after, and two Europeans in the middle – there’s loads coming up, Tokyo coming round and maybe more!”

Hamer recently returned to the St Peters Sports Centre in Burnley during one of Bobcats’ evening training sessions.

And the double Paralympic silver medalist was given a fantastic reception by all of the squad members.

Tom, who swam with the Bobcats Squad up until two years ago when he began his training with the GB Paralympic Team in Manchester at the age of 16, brought with him the medals he won in the 200m freestyle and individual medley events in the Rio pool.

Head Coach, Noel Horton said: “It was wonderful to see Tom down at the pool and remembering his grassroots and taking the time out to chat to all of the squad members and share his experience with them.”

l Bobcats have morning and evening sessions, both at the St Peters Centre, Burnley and Padiham Leisure Centre, and attend Manchester Aquatics Centre for 50m long course training on a monthly basis.

For further details about joining Burnley Bobcats, visit www.burnleybobcats.org.uk, where you will find all the information you need.