Born without a left hand, Chris Hammer qualifies in the 1,500 meters for the Sept. 4 competition
Eastern Washington University assistant cross country coach Chris Hammer is headed to London this summer to compete in the 1,500 meters at the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Hammer, who can be seen running frequently in and around the EWU campus in Cheney, Wash., was born without his left hand. He is a graduate student at Eastern and recently completed his second season working with EWU cross country and distance runners.
He recently won the 1,500 at the U.S. Track and Field Paralympic Trials at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). His time of 4:05.30 was a mere 0.34 seconds faster than runner-up Juan Carlos Arcos.
“Having the opportunity to represent the United States is more than a dream come true,” said Hammer in comments made on his U.S. Track and Field bio page at: http://www.teamusa.org/Athletes/HA/Christopher-Hammer.aspx
The 2012 Paralympics will take place Aug. 29 through Sept. 9 in London. The 1,500 meters will be run on Sept. 4.
Hammer has the second-best 1,500 meter time in the world this year for his T-46 classification. He ran the event in a time of 3:58.45 on May 5 in Los Angeles, just four seconds shy of the top qualifying mark in the world this year. Samir Nouioua of Algeria has the leading time of 3:54.56.
Despite being born without a left hand, Hammer still participated in sports at a young age. Hammer said he chose track because “running is the purest form of competition. I love pushing myself as hard as I can and then trying to push some more.”
Hammer was a four-time All-American in his time at Grand Valley State in Allendale, Mich., finishing in the top seven in the 3,000-meter steeplechase every year of his career at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Hammer finished in sixth in both the 2007 and 2008 championships and placed seventh in 2006 and 2009.
He hopes to coach cross country and track and field at the collegiate level in the future.
Chris Hammer’s Major Achievements:
2011 - Gold medal, 1500m (T46) - Parapan American Games, Guadalajara, Mexico
2011 - International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships Team Member
Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and Regional Cross Country Championships Winner
Member of two fourth place cross country NCAA DII teams
Member of nine GLIAC Championship teams in cross country and track and field
Four-time NCAA DII Steeplechase All-American
NCAA DII Cross Country All-American