This time last year, Samantha Kinghorn was getting ready for one of the biggest moments of her life.
Harper Macleod’s Athlete Ambassador and Scotland’s leading wheelchair racer had moved into the Commonwealth Games Athletes Village in Glasgow and was preparing for the Opening Ceremony of the XX Commonwealth Games.
She can hardly believe that 12 months has passed – 12 months which have seen her move ever closer to achieving her ambitions.
She said: “I remember we had our pictures taken in the afternoon and then headed over the Celtic Park ahead of the Opening Ceremony. You don’t realise how loud a crowd like that is until you are in the middle of it. I could hear it outside as we were queuing up, but it was magnified by 100 when you were in there. They were also a lot louder when our team came in and it was incredible, something I’ll never forget.
“My granny filmed it all so I’ve watched it back over the year and watched my races again. It’s quite nice to look back at it. It’s crazy that a year has passed. It feels like it has just happened, the whole experience and staying in the village still seems so fresh.”
Glasgow 2014 was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Sammi, the chance to compete in a home Games. But she’d love the chance another bite at the cherry.
“I think I’ve improved since then and I’d like to be able to give it another shot this year! I’d be a bit more confident about what I’m capable of. I was so nervous last year but now I think I’d be more confident in my abilities.”
After a summer of high-level competition in Europe and the USA, Sammi is waiting to find out whether she has made the GB team for the World Championships in Doha. That news should come around 8 September, but before then she has yet another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – in a life that seems full of them.
The Anniversary Games
Sammi has been invited to take part in the Anniversary Games (of the London 2012 Olympics, that is) at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this weekend. With Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill among the superstars on show, it’s a real honour for her to be selected, though it’s a daunting prospect for Sammi who is, by nature, a sprinter.
She’ll join the cream of the world’s T53 and T54 racers in a 1500m on Sunday afternoon, a race which will again be televised.
She said: “This will be the first time I’ll have really done the 1500m since Glasgow 2014. It’s another mixed race and I’m one of only two T53s in it. There are two Chinese athletes that I’ve never met before, along with Jade Jones and Shelley Woods from England. Chelsea McClammer from the USA is the other T53 and she’s really fast over the longer distances. Then there is also Manuela Schar who is just behind Tatyana McFadden in terms of the top wheelchair racers in the world.
“I don’t know how I’ve been selected, I think they just decided to throw me in there.”
The meeting is televised with Sammi’s race scheduled to take place on Sunday at 2.10pm. We know she’ll do herself proud.
- Read more about Sammi and her journey to Glasgow 2014 and beyond on her blog