HM Insights

In 2014 it was Glasgow & Swansea: Now Sammi Kinghorn is ready to take on the world

Now that the dust has settled on the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, we caught up with our Athlete Ambassador Sammi Kinghorn as she looks back on an incredible few months, and looks ahead to her next big challenges.

Since Sammi finished 5th in the final of the 1500m at Hampden Park, roared on by the home crowd to exceed all expectations, Scotland leading wheelchair racer has barely had time to draw breath.

A matter of weeks later she became triple European champion in Swansea, in her own T53 category over her favourite sprint distances. And in October, just to show her versatility, she won the Lisbon half-marathon in a new Scottish record.

Her achievements in 2014, aged just 18, have seen her shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards as the athletics season closes, and she's now had a chance to reflect on her progress this year.

She said: "It's strange, in some ways the Commonwealth Games seem like a long time ago, even though it's only been a few months. So much has happened since then that I've not had too much time to think about it. I can still feel the buzz from the Games, everyone is still pretty excited about them, and about how well Scotland did, which is great for all our athletes as we look forward.

"I'm really happy with how I performed. I tried as hard as I could and did better than I expected I would. I'm still pretty overwhelmed by it."

While her races, and the support of the home fans, were something she'll never forget the Opening Ceremony at Celtic Park stands out as a highlight of the Games.

She said: "There was such a long build up to it and it was just amazing. I think it was just because it was the start of everything. It was my first experience of being at an Opening Ceremony, it was in Scotland and it was absolutely amazing, even though we really only walked around then left again. It was so incredible to be part of."

Despite being thrilled with her performances in her first major international championships, every the perfectionist she has still taken the time to watch recordings of the races, analysing them to see how she can do even better.

Sammi said: "I watched them both once each, on my own. In my first race I shouldn't really have taken the front, but it couldn't be helped. In the final, I kind of got stuck at the back when the first three were breaking and I couldn't really see them breaking away. I just got pushed to the back as I didn't hold my position. I like knowing that there are improvements to be made, because it means I know I can get better."

The European Championships, held in Swansea two weeks after the Games closed, were always her major target in terms of medals, given that unlike in Glasgow she'd be competing over her favoured distances and in her own category, T53. Despite the exertions of Hampden, she was able to regroup and become a triple European Champion over 100m, 400m and 800m, an amazing achievement at any age, never mind 18.

She said: "It was tough. I was really tired, both emotionally and physically, from the Commonwealth Games. A week at home I don't think is really enough time to go straight back into a major competition. But I managed to do it and it was another fantastic occasion."

Now she's ready for winter training, working on her endurance as well as the starts which will be so crucial come the World Championships in Doha next October. That's her next big focus, and the sprints are her target.

Meanwhile, she's delighted to continue her association with Harper Macleod, who as Legal Advisers and Sponsors to the Games both supported her and gave her a platform to reach even more people. In the wake of the Games the short film she made with the firm has reached more than 11,000 hits on Youtube.

Sammi thanked the firm, and everyone else who has supported her so far, saying: "I'm really happy that Harper Macleod is continuing to support me. I wouldn't be where I am today without support like this, and I get on so well with everyone at the firm that it's really nice to be part of Team HM. It's great feeling part of such a big business, one that has been able to help me along the way so much over the past year, and help me get out and meet people."

The athletics award season is now in full swing, and Sammi has been nominated across a host of different events UK-wide. If 2014 is anything to go by, she's soon going to need a bigger trophy cabinet.