Change in discipline a small setback for Kiwi para-runners

As if training for a World Championships isn't tough enough, having to change your approach a year out could be the final straw for some.

Kiwi para-runners Mitch Joynt and Keegan Pitcher have been helping each other through tough challenges ahead of the games in Dubai. 

When Pitcher, who has Cerebral palsy, had his race classification changed this year, his medal hopes in the 400 and 800 metres at the World Championships were all but quashed.

"That's been a massive step up - the competition is a lot harder," Pitcher said.

"One day I was a third in the world - bronze medalist - to being top 20 in the world." 

It was a bitter pill to swallow, he had to pick up the 1500 meters, but as his podium dreams were crushed, he turned to his mate Mitch for support.

"He kept everything positive and just get me back into a proper training routine," said Joynt.

Mitch Joynt is a sprinter who works fifty hours a week as a truck driver, on top of training.

As a team, they insist on setting the bar high. 

"Making the 200 metre final, we didn't actually expect to qualify," said Joynt.  

"As soon as we qualified we realised that I was probably a bit quicker than we previously thought." 

And although a prize at the finish line is always the goal, they want to use any success for the greater good.

"One of the reasons I got in this sport is so I can inspire kids to follow their dreams and passions," said Pitcher.

Mitch Joynt and Keegan Pitcher are striving for a long-lasting legacy on and off the track.