ONE of Tamworth’s most beloved sporting figures is looking to be back to full health after a major injury.
Long-time athletics coach Wally Warner has vowed he will be back to his old ways after a recent hip replacement.
The 82-year-old suffered the injury in a car accident in 2016, but after dealing with the pain, surgery and months of rehab, he is ready to return to full health.
“The accident was just one of those things I suppose,” Warner said.
“I was trying to cross the road when a lady banged into me with her car and knocked me to the ground.
“She was quite upset and was crying, I felt a bit sorry for her really. But it was an accident and it’s time to get on with it.”
Warner spent most of the 2018 athletics season coaching through “severe pain” but was determined not step away from the sport.
“I didn’t want to give in,” he said.
“They’re a beautiful bunch of kids and I felt a duty to help get them ready for all of their state and national carnivals.
“They all did so well and I was extremely proud of them, and while the pain was terrific it was certainly worth it.”
Warner said he hoped to be “pain free” in the coming months.
“I had my surgery recently at the local hospital and the staff were just terrific,” he said.
“From my last visit I know that the hip has set well and is recovering.
“However, I am so determined to get back to full health because not being active is against who I am. I don’t walk, I run.”
Warner said his love for the sport was the main motivation behind his recovery.
“I love the sport, the kids and to be honest the only reward I could ever want is just a handshake and a smile,” he said.
“It’s one of the first lessons I give all the kids is to smile, look the person in the eye and give a strong handshake.
“At the end of the day it costs you nothing and always leaves you feeling happy.”
In his 53 years in athletics, Warner has seen his fair share of talent and believes Tamworth’s current crop of talent is “very exciting”.
“I’ve been really lucky to have some talented kids over the years,” he said.
“In 2019 I could have around 40 or so kids and there is some real talent there for sure.
“But as long as they try their hardest, are eager to learn and are happy, they are all winners in my book.
“I am really looking forward to a pain free 2019 and as long as there is a smile on my face I have no desires to give it away.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.