A 23-stone hurdler has today retired from athletics after conceding a belief in God was no substitute for training and talent.
Dave Barnard, who at 28 was a late starter in the 110m hurdles, admitted he was not the ideal shape for the sport but had assumed that with God on his side he would just leap and glide over the barriers like a salmon. In almost every race he ran that has not been the case.
Explaining the unconventional approach to his event, Mr Barnard revealed, “After watching numerous sportsmen dedicate their victories wholly to God, I joined my local church and assumed success would follow. To be honest, I didn't really have time to train since I was praying for over 8 hours a day. And eating a lot. Athletes need to take on board more calories than everyone else, but with hindsight I guess that's because they spend most of the day training.”
Mr Barnard, of no fixed club, became well-known on the circuit. He was often spotted in the warm-up area knelt in prayer while the other athletes stretched and paced in preparation for their races. And his size meant he was hard to miss at events, with one spectator remembering him “slowly rippling his way down the track.”
Dave Barnard's God was unavailable for comment though one of his aides advised that “while God had tried his best, he's not a miracle worker. His stable of sportsmen and women was now too large to work with them all individually and he hoped Mr Barnard would keep going but maybe look for a new coach. Allah's track record of working with sprinters makes him the obvious choice."