Commonwealth Games discus thrower Duquemin has been coaching at Aspire Academy in Qatar since September 2019, helping to develop young talent there while also remotely assisting other athletes back in the UK.
The warm weather has also generally helped Duquemin’s body, until he suffered a career-threatening herniated disc in his back almost exactly a year ago during lockdown.
‘I can’t pinpoint why it happened, training was going really well, I was throwing the furthest I had in training for a long time, and all of a sudden my back just went,’ the 29-year-old said.
‘The first surgeon said I needed emergency surgery and I’d probably get back 60 to 70% function. I had no feeling below my knee, my lower leg was numb, I couldn’t move my toes.
‘I then spoke to the medical team at Aspire. They said wait for a second opinion from a guy they recommend. In those next few days I started to move my toes. He said let’s wait, see how it develops, and if there’s progress we can avoid surgery.’
That conservative approach worked and, having adapted training around the injury, Duquemin is now competing again.
His first competitive outing featured a throw beyond the standard set by Team Jersey for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, but the Island Games record holder is still taking things one step at a time.
‘When I first had my injury the first goal was to get healthy, to live a normal life,’ he said. ‘Once I felt more confident with my back, that turned into picking up a discus again and seeing if I could throw. I realised the Commonwealth Games is probably the most realistic goal for me. Now I’ve ticked that box, it probably comes down to trying to figure out how much can I push my body again. I’ve not reached my full potential, if my body will allow me a few years to do that, I would be very happy'
Full interview in Thursday's JEP.