Long-term success the main goal for Wetherill
PARALYMPIAN David Wetherill has revealed he is looking well beyond this summer's London Games.
Torpoint table tennis player Wetherill admitted he is feeling relaxed ahead of the London Paralympics after reaching the final of the French Open.
Wetherill, who was told by doctors he would be in a wheelchair by now, was disappointed about losing the final.
But the degree student, who has been training at the national centre in Sheffield, said: "I've been playing really well and training really well.
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"I had a good win in training over a quality player called Will Bailey, who was world number one in the class above me.
"So I am high in confidence. I'm not 100 per cent, but I want to carry on next year like I've been doing this year and start thinking about the Paralympics in Rio (in 2016)."
Wetherill, who was born with a bone condition called Multiple Epiphyseal Dysplasia which affects the growth of all his long bones and joints, said he wanted to carry on playing for as long as he could.
Doctors predicted the 22-year-old would be in a wheelchair by the end of his teens, but he has defied their prognosis, citing table tennis as one of the reasons why.
Wetherill said: "I'm not going to give up, not while I'm enjoying what I'm doing. I just love playing table tennis, basically.
"Some of the people I play are 35-years-old and I'm sure I can last that long."
Wetherill added: "I took a year out of my studies to solely focus on London for my mental well-being and I should be thinking about what I'm going to do as a career next year.
"But next year I want to make a push to get to Rio, so I'm not sure what will happen."
Wetherill admitted his target will be to win a medal at this year's Paralympics.
He said: "If I could get a medal, then that would be fantastic.
"If I don't then that would make me even more determined to get one in Rio.
"If I do get one, then I'll be trying to stay there and hopefully do better.
"The point is that when I reached the quarter-finals in Beijing four years ago, I wasn't as good a player as I am now.
"But the people I play are better now as well, so you've got to try to improve."
Wetherill is still waiting to see whether he will get a 'bye' straight into the table tennis quarter-finals at the London Paralympics.
He had to reach the world's top four to achieve that aim – currently Wetherill is ranked fifth in the world.
"I felt I did well in France – I lost in the final, but I beat the player who beat me in the team event, he said.
"Getting to the final of the French Open isn't bad, is it?
"But I don't know if I've done enough to get into the quarter finals.
"It's something I'm waiting to find out, and hopefully I've managed it."