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In her debut blog as a CW Challenger, wheelchair racer and budding Paralympian Sammi Kinghorn shares her perspective as she prepares for the biggest year of her career – aiming for this October’s European Championships and a place in Team GB for Rio 2016.

Sammi Kinghorn PortraitHi, I’m Samantha Kinghorn, also known as Sammi, I’m nineteen years old and I compete as a wheelchair racer in the T53 class.

I live in Scotland on a farm in the Borders near to a small village called Gordon. I’ve lived there all of my life and, in 2010 at the age of fourteen, I broke my back in an accident on the farm which has resulted in me being a wheelchair user. This has imposed a lot of challenges in my life but it hasn’t held me back from continuing to play an active part in life on the farm and I still lamb the sheep, I have my own dog and I use a quad bike to round up sheep.

I began wheelchair racing in 2012 and my first race was in the London mini marathon, where I came second. I think I would have gone faster if I hadn’t been so taken by the atmosphere and waving to the crowd, which maybe slowed me down a little!

Very soon I realised that wheelchair racing was a sport I could be quite good at and, by the end of 2012, I had been included in the GB Talent Development squad.

I now train 6 days per week, two sessions per day, with a mix of track, road, rollers, strength and conditioning training and massage. My rural home environment gives me the opportunity to push on quiet and rolling country roads, although I now also have training sessions in Edinburgh and Glasgow too.

2014 was a fantastic year for me as I was selected to represent Scotland in the Commonwealth Games in the T54 1500m. This meant I competed up a disability class and in an event a little further than my usual favoured events but the experience in front of a home crowd was amazing and I surprised myself by making the final and finishing 5th.

I didn’t have long to recover from the Commonwealth Games before representing GB at the European Championships in Swansea, where I won three gold medals over 100m, 400m and 800m. It was a great end to a great season.

Sammi Kinghorn IPC European Championships, Swansea 2014Sammi winning the Women’s 100m – T53 Final at the IPC European Championships in Swansea, 2014

In 2015 my target is to be selected for GB in the IPC World Athletics Championships taking place in Doha, in October. Events open to me are 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m and it would be a great challenge to be pitted against the world’s best athletes.

I finished 2014 as high as number 4 in the world rankings and was selected as a member of the GB World Class Performance Plan. I recently finished my winter training programme and followed that up with a training trip to the sunnier climes of Tenerife, which was a wonderful change of climate!

My season starts in May with a UK domestic championship as the tune-up for the large scale Swiss Races series in Switzerland where some of the best wheelchair athletes in the world will gather over a two-week period. I always love to race in Switzerland and to catch up with racing friends.

I am delighted to be selected as a Christopher Ward ‘Challenger’ and look forward to being part of the Challenger team. I could not participate as fully as I do in my sport without support and Christopher Ward are an important part of my team going forward. I look forward to updating you all on my progress in future blogs!

Sammi Kinghorn at Christopher WardSammi Kinghorn is presented with the C60 Trident GMT 600 watch by CW founders Chris Ward and Peter Ellis

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