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Thursday 2 April 2015

A glimpse into the life of Mark Pearson: Wheelchair rugby athlete

Here Myles Pearson talks about balancing life, sporting success and academic study.


Hello my name is Myles Pearson. A regular on the Southampton nightclubbing scene (you’ve probably seen me in Oceana), I also happen to be a wheelchair rugby athlete. I represented Paralympics GB at London 2012 and have European silver and bronze medals to my name.

Myles Pearson.

As well as competing for GB I play for Team Solent Sharks, who currently sit second in the ‘BT Super Series Division Two’ and are Southampton’s only wheelchair rugby team. When I’m not on court, you’ll either find me writing as part of my Sport Journalismcourse or in the gym as a member of the High Performance Academy (HPA), part of Southampton Solent University. You’ll have probably realised by now that I’m a busy boy!

Having left the GB squad for a few months to focus on my studies, Team Solent Sharkshave been my primary focus of this season. After being at the club for about eighteen months now, it has been fantastic to see the development of the team. Watching youngsters such as Patrick Asher-Relf (Paddy) and Matthew Bonney (Matt) start to come through is very exciting. They’re definitely two to watch out for in the future.

It’s the first season that the club has had a coach too. Gary Banks has led the team this season and although I am still leading the club tactically, having Gary has been a huge help and the reason the club has gone from strength to strength.

The season itself has been a mixed bag. We started off like lightening and led the pack; however injuries to key players have seen us stutter in recent times and drop down a place into second. With one weekend left, it’s imperative that we pick up the pace again and finish off where we started. I’m confident that if we do that then we’ll be promoted to division one, we’ve certainly got what it takes.

The team's trophy.

The HPA has been a huge help this season too. Being away from the GB set-up has meant that I don’t get the same kind of support as I did. However having the HPA close by has meant that I have kept fit, healthy and ready to go for the demands that the club season brings. They’ve also been keeping an eye on how I’ve been doing academically. Being a typical ‘blokey bloke’ I am often led astray, but having the HPA watching has meant that I am less tempted to end up outside Oceana at 5am and more likely to be seen in the library (I wasn’t paid to say that, I promise)!

I recently played in a club tournament in Germany: the Bernd Best Tournament. This is the largest wheelchair rugby tournament in the world, with 4 different leagues offering different levels of competition to anyone from international athletes to complete beginners. This competition enabled me to gage where I was internationally; whether I was way off the pace or on the right track. I played for my old club team, West Coast Burn, and after winning the same tournament last year, we ended up in a reasonable 4th place in the Professional League.

Bernd Best wheelchair rugby.

Still quite a new on the wheelchair rugby circuit, I’m still developing as a player so as any athlete will tell you “There’s no substitute for just getting out there and competing”. I’m definitely ready for it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog and it’s given you an idea of what I am up too, I hope to write regularly. No doubt I’ll probably see you in Oceana or around university, stay safe.