The season is in full swing now, and I’m competing pretty much every weekend, at least every other weekend for the next couple of months. I’ve developed a bit of a frustrating habit of throwing bang on 30 metres, which I have done in the last 4 competitions since Dubai.
I was supposed to go to Holland to compete on my birthday at the end of May, but two days before I was due to go, KLM told UK Athletics that my electric wheelchair was too big to get into the baggage hold on the plane.
I was given the choice of taking the chance that they would put my wheelchair on and that I’d be able to get back to Newcastle, or to cancel. Needless to say I decided to stay at home and celebrate being 21 again. It was extremely frustrating – The thing that annoyed me about this most recent incident was how late KLM left it to inform us that they couldn’t take the wheelchair. The flights had been booked for weeks and with the notice they gave me, there was no way I could organise alternative travel.
Another thing I couldn’t understand was that KLM were happy to take my throwing frame, which is actually bigger than my wheelchair – madness!
Even though I didn’t get to compete in Holland, I’ve got lots more competitive opportunities to come and we are adjusting my frame with the help of Tharsus who have been great, we are working hard to get the angle of the back spot on.
As you may well know, Channel 4 have the broadcast rights to the Paralympics in London and I’ve been doing quite a bit of work with them. Recently I got the chance to become a film star for a couple of days as Channel 4 did some filming for a short documentary on me to be aired sometime in July. It’s only going to be 90 seconds long, but it took two long days with a full film crew including director, producer, sound and light crew – it was actually a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it but it was hard work. Those movie stars work hard for their money.
Speaking of stars, I got a brief glimpse of Take That when I spoke at an Olympic breakfast event at Seaham Hall. It was to enthuse businesses about the value of the Olympic and Paralympic games and how business can benefit from hosting the games in this country. I guess apart from hearing me speak, the highlight for most people was seeing the boys from Take That as they took off in their helicopters. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t get my wheelchair in a helicopter either. I also spoke at a similar event at St. James’ Park where Grainger PLC were present and got great recognition for sponsoring me up to London 2012.
A provisional Paralympic timetable has been released and at the moment my competition is on the first morning of the athletics programme. It’s brilliant and provided it stays the same, it’ll be an honour to kick off the GB campaign and bring home the first gold medal.