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Pastor Tim has unfinished business

Tim Shiels running for Ireland at the World Masters in Australia

Tim Shiels running for Ireland at the World Masters in Australia

AN Omagh athlete is planning another attempt at winning a medal in the World Masters Athletics Championships after missing out on a podium finish by 11 hundredths of a second in the 800metres in Australia.

Tim Shiels, a pastor at Omagh Community Church, who finished a close fourth in the men’s over-40s final, said the effects of jet lag had cost him dearly at the Perth games last month.

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Having had time to reflect the one-time drug addict has committed to the next World Championship in Spain 2018 in a bid to realise his dream.

For obvious reasons this year’s championship was a bitter-sweet experience for Tim and has left him feeling there is unfinished business.

“I still maintain I can win the World Championship, so I have set my sights on Spain 2018,” said Tim.

“The family, my coach Malcolm McCausland, the people I am surrounded by have all said let’s commit to this.

“In this next two years everything will lead to getting to the World Championships fit and healthy again.

“In the short term I’ll be looking what I can do at national level.

“I have a couple of titles to defend at national and UK level. I’ll be focusing on that as well as trying to break a few records.”

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The Omagh pastor had travelled to Australia just a few days before the championship and failed to get any sleep over the course of his 36 hour journey.

That took its toll and when the Irish and UK champion went to kick for home in both his heat and then the final there was nothing left in the tank.

In hindsight he admits his planning and preparation wasn’t good enough to finish among the medals.

“I’m kicking myself, there are a few things I would have done differently that would have led to a different outcome,”continued Tim.

“I had never experienced jet lag in my life. I couldn’t sleep on the flight and I came off a 36-hour journey having got no rest whatsoever. My body hadn’t recovered from the journey. I need my sleep and getting off the plane I hadn’t had any rest at all.

“I knew I had the beating of the boys in front of me had I been 100% and planned a wee bit better. That is the bitter sweet of it all.

“In the past three years I have prided myself in the last 100 metres of my race. It’s the strongest element of it. I’ve got a spectacular finish and what is known as a great kick.

“That was the thing that let me down on the day. I have a sixth gear that I can move into.

“In the final I was running comfortably in fifth gear but when I went to move into sixth it was as if it wasn’t there. It took me 15-20 seconds to eventually find it by which time the gap was too big between me and the leading contenders.

“I was catching the leaders with every step and had I had a few more metres I would have caught them all. But over the distance these guys had the edge on the day.”

“Having said all of that and putting it into perspective fourth in the world is fantastic. Eighteen years ago I was homeless, I had a massive drug addiction and had no hope and no life as such.

“Coming fourth in the World Championship is a life achievement. Perspective is wonderful thing but ultimately the pill is hard to swallow.”

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