HomeSportHow Pattison overcame 'freaky' heart to win bronze

How Pattison overcame ‘freaky’ heart to win bronze


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The disbelief was evident on Ben Pattison’s face as he waited, hands on head, for his unthinkable world bronze medal to be confirmed. The 21-year-old admits that if he were able to tell his younger self about his achievements, the response would simply be: “Who’s this looney?”Pattison certainly did not expect to earn a medal on his World Championship debut, in what was the first global final of his career.At one point, he even feared he might never run again after being diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening heart condition.Thankfully, although his heart was beating at a distressing 250 beats per minute, he underwent successful surgery during the Covid pandemic.He could not have imagined, during those concerning times, the events that would unfold in Budapest only three years on.”I remember when I got told I was like: ‘Is this my running career done?’,” said Pattison.”When they rang me they were pretty worried and as soon as they told me I wasn’t allowed to exercise at all.”Pattison was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndromeexternal-link, which can cause an abnormally fast and irregular heartbeat.”It was a bit scary at the time,” he said. “I was almost worried when I got back I wouldn’t be the same.”They had to burn off a bit of my heart. At the time it was very scary but I had the right people around me.”I was awake for the whole thing. It was a bit surreal. I was watching.”Somewhat revealing his all-in approach to the sport, he found a silver lining: “It was during the Covid years, so I didn’t miss out on racing,” he added.With his sensational bronze Pattison became the first British man to win a world 800m medal since Peter Elliott’s silver 36 years ago.It follows the Commonwealth Games bronze he won on his first appearance at a major championships 12 months ago. He took sixth at the European Championships a few weeks later.This was by far the biggest stage the Loughborough Business Analytics graduate had ever competed on.But, armed with a punchy finish, Pattison ensured he remained in contention before making a break for the podium on the inside.Leaning for the line with all he had left, his third-place finish was clear to all but Pattison – who watched for absolute confirmation to appear before dropping to the track in a mixture of shock and elation.”I’ve never been the stand-out guy,” said Pattison.”I’ve always been the guy on the team that’s been in the second or third place. “I don’t win a lot of the domestic races but when it matters, I’m there. I’ve never not made a final in my life. I’ve got a Commonwealth medal and a world medal.”Next year he will hope for more of the same at the Paris Olympic Games.And, now that he has proven to himself he that he is capable of challenging the world’s best, he may not need to rely on a friend to provide an inspirational song.”All day, I’ve had people telling me I’m going to medal. Halfway through the day, I started to believe it,” Pattison said, physical proof of his success now hanging proudly from his neck.”Going into the race I thought I don’t want to leave with any regrets. “It was a battle of who wants it more and I came out on top. I don’t really know what’s going on right now.”My mate Tommy wrote a song for me – ‘Ben Pattison’s coming home with a medal round his neck’. He was right!”

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