Hammer thrower Dry opts against rugby switch

Mark Dry revealed how he almost became so disillusioned with athletics after missing out on London 2012 that he pursued a career in rugby.

Dry opts against rugby - AthleticsReuters

English rival Alex Smith earned Olympic selection for the hammer in favour of the 24-year-old Scot with a season-best distance 75.63m compared to Dry’s 74.82m.

Neither was good enough for a current London 2012 A standard and indeed Smith’s was thrown too early in the year to be factored with his then next best distance 74.79m.

Both were good enough for a B standard yet, in accordance with the selection policy, that meant only one of Dry or Smith would compete.

Smith was the lucky one, he won the Olympic trials, leaving Dry to contemplate his future which after much deliberation he now believes remains in athletics.

“I’ve always liked the sport, but I thought about moving on with my life,” said Dry. “The biggest thing was that I didn’t enjoy it as much as before.

“The politics involved in the Olympic selection process made me question why I bother, especially as I knew I was capable of making London.

“It seemed that Alex was always going to be picked ahead of me and to be honest, the most frustrating thing is that we couldn’t both go.

“It was difficult to stomach when I found out I wasn’t going to London. I don’t think Alex would be as good without me and we push each other and that makes us better.

“I wasn’t sure if it was going to lead to anything, but the sport has allowed me to travel and do things I always wanted to do.

“I considered a career in rugby, but I’m now fully focused on the future.”

Dry may have only just decided to stick with athletics over rugby but it hasn’t taken him long to set out his short-term and long-term ambitions.

He wants to break the Scottish and British hammer records next year to set himself up for a shot at the podium at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.

“75.40m is the Scottish record and I’d love to get that soon,” he added. “77.54m is the British record and both Alex and I will be chasing that next year and using it as a target.

“If I could get to Glasgow and perform there, so close to my hometown, that would be massive for me. That’s the main focus.

“In 2016 I’ll only be 28 so I should be near my peak. There’s no reason why I can’t be throwing 78m or 79m by the time Rio comes around.”

The McCain UK Challenge is a nationwide, season long competition comprising a series of events from mid May until August for Britain’s top club athletes and aspiring internationals vying for a share in a £30,000 prize fund.

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