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Tuesday 9 April 2013

Student spotlight: Disability sport

We caught up with Graham Condie, a BA (Hons) Tourism Management student that competes in Club Throw and Seated Discus in the F32 classification, we asked Graham how he got into his desired sport.

Why did you choose this sport?

I got involved in discus thanks to my parents listening to Stephen Miller (a Paralympian), at a local Cerebral Palsy conference, talking about how he trains at Gateshead Harriers. I came back for half-term from the specialist disabled college I went to at the time and my dad asked me, “Do you want to try it out?” I said yes.

Graham Condie, 21.

You are a High Performance Academy student. How has the High Performance Team helped you to progress?

The High Performance Team has supported me with specific workouts and general fitness and conditioning techniques. The team has also helped with transport, accommodation and training. Staff from the High Performance Academy played a major role in boosting my confidence, helping me fulfil my academic commitments and have always been ‘a sounding board’ when needed!

Tell us about your awards and trophies

I have won the Cerebral Palsy (CP) Sports Male Field Award twice. I got Bronze for the Men’s Club at the Welsh Athletics Championships in 2011 and won Silver in the Discus at the Men’s BUCS Outdoor Championship in 2011. I have also won Silver in the Men’s Club and Bronze in the Men’s Discus at the English Athletics Senior Championships in 2012. I am now on the Scottish National Team and the UKA talent ID Team.

What sporting achievements are you most proud of?

Every time I get a PB in either event it makes me feel great. I was also able to participate in the London Disability Grand Prix at the Olympic Stadium, which was very special to me as you are only allowed to attend the event if UK Athletics invites you.

Graham in action.

What is a typical training session/training day?

My training sessions are very varied. One day, James Grant (High Performance Academy Manager) and I we will be focusing on balance and power, where on another day we may just be working on the Discus technique.

I guess you get many rewards from your sport but what are the toughest challenges you are facing?

I always enjoy what I do because I think once you don’t enjoy it, you have a problem – you need to enjoy it. I do get bad days which really annoy me (e.g. my distances are not good), but I am learning to get over the disappointment.

Do you have any upcoming competitions?

I am throwing Shot, Discus, and Club in Kingston (7th April 2013), Chelmsford (May 2013), and in Birmingham, Stoke Mandeville and Bedford (June 2013). I am also competing at the BUCS outdoor championships in the Shot and Discus.

What are your favourite sports?

Athletics (especially field events) but I also like watching Boccia and Lawn Bowls.

Who is your favourite athlete?

I would say probably Stephen Miller and Derek Derenalagi, who are both very good throwers and hardworking Paralympians!

What are your hobbies and interests?

In my spare time I like to chill out by watching TV, going on the internet, socialising with people or watching documentaries and YouTube clips on travel – especially the ones with aeroplanes and cruise ships. It was funny seeing one of my mates running away once I showed him some clips! I am very interested in tourism, the development of disabled sport and how leisure and tourism can be more accessible for disabled people (included how the leisure and tourism industries can meet disabled people’s needs).

What are your plans when you leave University?

I have a few ideas – either do a Masters or a PhD in sport or tourism or consultancy work to help businesses be more accessible for disabled people.

For more information on our High Performance Academy (HPA), contact the team using Facebook.