Alumni: Graham gets gold.
Solent alumnus Graham Condie is a multiple gold-medal winner. Representing Scotland at this year’s CPISRA World Games, an international sports competition for people with cerebral palsy and related conditions, Graham came away the victor in all three events he entered – even getting a personal best in the discus, despite the wind and rain.
“All of my events were seated events,” Graham said, “throwing from a specially made frame which allows me to throw to my maximum. I was entered into the seated discus, shot and club throw (an alternative to the javelin which requires you to throw a wooden baton), and I won gold in every event!”
Graham first came to Solent for the Sport and Tourism Foundation Year, and graduated in 2014 with a BA (Hons) Tourism Management. He’s now working on a master’s by research at Bournemouth University, looking at leisure participation, the therapeutic aspects of leisure and trying to understand physically disabled people’s experiences of leisure.
At Solent, Graham was a member of the University’s elite high-performance academy (HPA) – set up to help students who are studying at the University while competing on the national and international stage. The HPA provides financial and mentoring support to assist athletes in reaching their sporting potential whilst pursuing higher education, as well as a whole host of training and, covering everything from sports nutrition to physiotherapy.
Graham said: “HPA had a significant impact in building me up and teaching me the skills to develop myself. They also taught me that sport is more about training and is also about managing yourself and your attitude to training.”
That attitude has stayed with Graham. “Just being able to represent Scotland in an international event, and to make my family and friends happy, makes me happy – especially throwing well and leaving nothing at home and leaving everything on the field.”
“It also gave me confidence – it doesn’t matter what the title of the event is (Paralympics, world games or national), what gets you there and what gets you respect is how hard you work and your attitude to your training and work. If you always criticise yourself, you will never improve and succeed.”
“I am currently in my winter training, where I am building up my strength ahead of my next competition in April.” Graham said. “Since leaving Solent, though, I miss working with [HPA staff] Granty, Dan and Ben – simply because as well as helping me to develop despite my disability, they always made me feel welcome.”