The Women’s T53 wheelchair racing will be one of the highlights of the Games. Sammi Kinghorn is finding her best form at exactly the right moment.
Talk me through the more serious side, about your training and practice regime.
I train 12 times a week. In the morning I normally do endurance and then at night I do sprint so that’s either on my rollers at home or if it’s not raining, I go to the track. I must be doing at least 90 or 100 miles a week. Then I do gym training three times a week as well.
Do you change your training as you approach a major event in case you injure yourself?
I’ve no idea, because I’ve never done one before. I think me and my coach are planning on keeping it going the same because I keep improving and getting pb’s (personal best times) so we’re not going to overdo it because then I’ll be knackered and I’ve got a heat and a final to do.
Do you have any superstitions or pre-race rituals?
I have got a necklace that I always wear on a race day which is one my brother gave me but apart from that I’ve not really got anything that I ‘have to do’, it’s kinda, just keep calm and don’t get too nervous.
Do you eat differently on a race day?
Not really; I have to eat more often through the breaks I’ve got. If I’ve got a race day, I’ve normally got about five races to do so it’s quite a lot, so you have to try to eat high protein, high energy food. In the morning I eat a little bit more than what you’d normally eat to power me through the day. You give your all in training but you’ve obviously got your extra third or fourth gear ready to go at a competition.
It’s a Glasgow based Games; I think the whole crowd will be on your team.
I know. It’s scary – no that’d be great. I love having other Scots around me and knowing there’s a team. Obviously, we’re all going to be pushing for our own medals and our own places but we all want each other to do well and we all want each other to be up on the medals table.
You’ve been racing in England and Switzerland recently, smashing your personal best and hitting some real form.
My coach has planned it really well! I’m just improving and I’ve just got to try not to get injured or ill or anything like that. I’m just wrapping myself in cotton wool. If it looks like it’s raining or it’s a bit cold, I’ll think: I don’t want to get a cold.
Who are your main rivals in the T53?
Madison de Rozario (Australia) and Jade Jones (England). Just because obviously, they’ve got a lot more experience than I have. You set off into a pack so you have to watch that you’re not going to get boxed in on the last lap and you’ve got to watch where you are on the last lap. I’ve not been at it for that long so I’m still not quite aware for how long I can sprint at my full speed for and it’s just that kind of thing; little things that I need to learn but it’s my first Games. It’ll be the best experience for me.
Do you feel a responsibility to show what disabled people can do?
That’s why I go to the primary schools and do talks for them. It’s easier to explain it to kids at that age than to try to tell adults about it. They’ve never been taught about it and it’s easier to learn it as a child.
Kids stare because they’re curious. They’re not meaning any harm in any way. They’re just curious of how it happened and I’m quite happy to explain it to them.
Your event is at Hampden Park; have you ever been there before?
No, I’ve never ever been. It’s going to be pretty scary.
Have you heard of the ‘Hampden Roar’?
I’m just so excited for when I’m called up to the line and it’ll be my name for team Scotland that’s read out. I might be deafened!
Harper Macleod, Legal Advisers to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, are supporting Sammi Kinghorn as their Athlete Ambassador for the event.