Samantha ‘Sammi’ Kinghorn is one of the world’s leading wheelchair racers and Harper Macleod’s Athlete Ambassador. At the age of 19, she has just returned from her first World Championships with a bronze medal. Here, she shares some of that incredible experience with us.
Sammi is pictured showing off her medal with HM Chief Executive Martin Darroch at the recent sportscotland Scottish Sports Hall of Fame Awards, to which HM was a proud supporter
My first World Championships.
My first major, global, international event.
The longest time I have ever been away from home.
Oh, and my first medal on the world stage!
The IPC World Championships in Doha was an amazing experience and I loved it all.
I was in Qatar for the best part of a month and being away from home for so long was difficult, especially towards the end. You start to miss your home comforts and food – being in the Middle East the food is clearly different to my typical home fare like a Sunday roast while the athletes' catering doesn't match my Mum's. Let’s just say I won’t ever want to eat pasta again! However, being away for so long was made easier by the fact that my parents did manage to travel to Doha to support me.
My first major international event – wow! There is no greater pride for me than pulling on that Great Britain racing vest and racing for my country and family. My first World Championships experience is something I will remember for the rest of my life as a positive part of my racing career.
My schedule of races was extremely stacked. I raced in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m and they all took place in the first six days, with heats and finals in each event. Some of the heats and finals were in the same day, something I had never experienced before. I managed to do exactly what I set out to do which was to make every final.
On the first day, the 22nd of October, I managed to pick myself up a bronze medal in the 200m. I was overwhelmed when I first realised that I had finished in a medal position and to see my Mum and Dad welling up as I crossed the line made me very happy. It’s great to know that I was doing them proud.
All my races went exceedingly well, and I even managed to get a second PB in my 800m on what was a slow track. I went into the 800m ranked only 13th in the world yet, somehow, managed to qualify for the final and after some inspiring words from my brother I came 7th. I was very pleased with that race as I hadn’t had a PB in my 800m this year.
I shared a room with Hannah Cockcroft, who I am really good friends with. She made my whole experience a lot calmer as I had her to look up to. Hannah and I had a lot of fun filming for IPC and singing to each other in the mornings to soothe our nerves on race days. I was also lucky enough to get a few days at the end of my competition to watch and support my other team mates and to spend some time with my parents. Overall, the experience as second to none.
I learnt a lot as I raced against the best and I feel even more prepared to race against them next year – hopefully in Rio at the Paralympics!
You can find out more about Harper Macleod and Sammi here.