Samantha ‘Sammi’ Kinghorn is Scotland’s leading wheelchair racer and Harper Macleod’s Athlete Ambassador.
In 2014 it was the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. In 2015 it was the World Championships in Doha, where she won a bronze medal. However, there’s no doubt that 2016 is set to be the biggest year of Sammi’s athletics career as she prepares for her first ever Paralympics – and if you’re going to have a first, you might as well do it in style by going to Rio! Here Sammi, who turned 20 in January, looks ahead at her training and racing for the season as she aims to peak for the greatest challenge, and most incredible experience, to date.
Sammi training on the track at Tweedbank, Galashiels, near her home in Gordon
To be honest I cannot believe it’s already 2016, a Paralympic year, but I cannot wait to get stuck into it.
At the moment I am still well and truly in winter training. Winter training has a love/hate relationship with athletes - we love it because we know we will get great gains but we hate it because we know its going to be hard work and our muscles will be sore. I am currently working a lot on endurance and strength on the road, track and in the gym and it’s tough.
This year I don’t start racing until May, but in between now and then I will be travelling to Rio (in March) for a look at all the Paralympics sites. A group of athletes from Team GB have been selected to make the trip and I am very excited to go. Hopefully we will get to see the stadium (the Paralympics will be held in the famous Maracana Stadium, better known for its history as a football stadium) and the athletes village.
I am also going to Tenerife in April to do some hot weather training. It’s really nice to train with the sun on your back – it makes a change from this terrible Scottish weather we are getting just now.
This year I will also be racing in Switzerland again in the summer and hopefully in America. However, my ultimate goal this year will be the Paralympics, which kick off in September. My whole year will be about preparing for this event.
There’s plenty of time for me to improve between now and then, though no doubt it will fly in. The sport is always progressing and I need to do my best to keep up with that. This year I will be making some adjustments to my starts and with my gloves.
My goals for this year are to make the team for the Paralympics to race in the 100m, 400m and 800m and hopefully to qualify for finals and to improve on my personal bests. Anything beyond that will be a bonus.
What's in my bag ...
Ever wondered what an international wheelchair racer has in her bag when she sets out for a day’s training? Courtesy of Sammi, you don’t have to wonder any longer!
If it's just to the gym then … water, recovery drink (chocolate milk) and breakfast bar :)
If it's to the track … all the above and extra socks (in case my feet get wet), tyres, pump and jumpers - I am always cold!
You can find out more about Harper Macleod and Sammi here.
You can see the short film we made with Sammi as she trained around her Borders home here.