HM Insights

Catching up with Samantha Kinghorn - looking back to Dubai and ahead to Glasgow 2014 as the countdown speeds up

With lambs, puppies and babies springing around her, you can understand why there's no such thing as a quiet time for wheelchair racer Samantha Kinghorn. With a wrist injury curtailing her training for a few weeks, appearances on TV and the fashion pages of a national newspaper have also kept Harper Macleod's Athlete Ambassador for Glasgow 2014 busy – who knows what her schedule is going to the like when Games fever really gets going.

Sammi Kinghorn Dubai

The last time we caught up with Sammi, in March, she was on her way to Dubai to take part in two international meets. You could say she didn't do too badly, picking up nine gold medals and some personal bests.

She said: "Dubai was a great experience, and I didn't think I'd be quite as far forward in my times at this stage of the season. The warm weather was good but it was hard. You're sweating after one lap - you don't have to do the mile warm up that you do in Scotland.

"I had some time off after Dubai as I hurt my wrist. I was worried, and hoping that it wasn't too serious with the Commonwealth Games and everything else coming up. I'm lucky that it wasn't, I had it fully checked out and rested it and I'm back to normal. I had a race at the weekend in Grangemouth even with a few weeks off I've not lost too much ground."

Here's some exclusive footage of Sammi racing in the Emirates, as well as some behind the scenes chat with her and coach Ian Mirfin on a trip which yielded multiple gold medals and personal bests.

Now she's looking ahead to bigger challenges to come. Following the British Wheelchair Racing Association Championships at Stoke Mandeville on May 4, she'll travel to Switzerland for two high-class race meets where she'll be able to test herself against the very best.

Sammi said: "Switzerland will be really tough. You're racing in your own class, against world-class opposition including Paralympic gold medallists. I'll be doing 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m at the first meet, and 100m, 400m and 800m at the second. I'll be racing against the same people who'll I'll be up against at the Europeans, which take place after the Commonwealth Games, so it's a chance for me to see where I am."

The break in her schedule allowed Sammi to do more media work, something that takes a bit of getting used to for the 18-year-old, but at which she's becoming an old hand. And rather than it interfering with her schedule, it's something she welcomes.

"I still find it strange that people want to watch me on telly and read about me, it's quite surreal. I really enjoy doing media, though, and the reaction I get from people is nice. As most of the media commitments are in Glasgow it also gives me a good reason to go up and train with Ian and the others at the Red Star club, and I can work it around training."

But what about all the animals? It's lambing time at the family farm in Gordon in the Borders, and as well getting hands on with that, she's introducing her puppy Lady to life as a working dog, although a working dog destined to be unique.

Sammi said: "Lady's four months old now and I'm training her. With lambing underway I'm starting to take her out round about the sheep and getting her used to it. I've also taught her to run behind my wheelchair, right in behind my wheels, and eventually the aim is to go out in my racing chair with her and teach her to run with me. She's doing well just now.

"I'm also an auntie now, to little Logan. It's amazing, and it's great to see my brother and the whole family so happy."

All the while, anticipation around Glasgow 2014 is growing. April 14 marks 100 days to go, and Sammi is already experiencing the enthusiasm build. "Oh yeah, definitely. Everyone around me is asking about it and they're really excited about it, telling me 'it's soon, it's soon, it's coming around'. That makes me excited too, knowing that other people are so keen to watch – not just the Commonwealth Games but also to watch para-athletes compete.

"The Commonwealth Games is different in that the para events run alongside the able-bodied events. In some ways I like the idea of have the Olympics and Paralympics separate as I feel the para sport gets a bit more recognition that way, having our own event. But the way the Commonwealth Games run the events alongside the able-bodied athletes makes para athletes feel that they are being treated in just the same way as other athletes. You could end up sharing the same athletics stage as people such as Usain Bolt, which is crazy.

"I'm also getting excited about the opening ceremony, especially after seeing the 'Window on the World' big screen and plans for it. It'll be awesome, and great to get a feel for what it's going to be like come competition time, though I'm sure its going to be so much louder when you're about to race."

And there won't be a lamb in sight, though Lady might fancy her chances of sneaking in