Samantha Kinghorn, a former Back Up user, just competed in her first ever Paralympic Games. The 20-year old from Scotland took part in the T53 100m, 400m and 800m races. She had an impressive performance at Rio and made the finals of all her events. She even broke the European record in the T53 800 metres.
Samantha, who won 3 gold medals at the 2014 European Championships, had an accident at her family farm in December 2010 which left her paralysed from the waist down. Samantha became aware of Back Up after meeting our volunteers whilst recovering in Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital.
After doing a Wheelchair Skills Course, Samantha took part in one of our Youth Multi-Activity Courses in 2012.
“I was really nervous because it was my first time going out on my own after having my accident. Everyone was really calm; it was nice having the other volunteers in wheelchairs as well. It was good seeing people that hadn’t just had their accident and there were a lot of younger ones there too. I really enjoyed all the activities that we did and found it really fun.”
Samantha also got back into sport after becoming “hooked” on wheelchair racing: “Once I’d tried it out that was it really. That was all I wanted to do.” She’s keen to inspire the next generation of Paralympians and encourages young people to “give anything a shot” because there’s always something out there for everyone.
“Just do everything you can to try and get active and get out and do something. Having a spinal cord injury is not the end of your life. I think I’ve ended up doing a lot more with my life than I think I probably would have without.”
As for her own ambitions, Samantha can take a well deserved rest after a great Rio performance. Well done from everyone here at Back Up and bring on Tokyo!