Mark Swan hoping awards success powers him to Paralympics

Swan, 21, grabbed glory at an awards ceremony at London's Sea Containers House on Thursday (Image: Sportsbeat)
Swan, 21, grabbed glory at an awards ceremony at London's Sea Containers House on Thursday (Image: Sportsbeat)

By Oli Dickson Jefford

Seaham sensation Mark Swan says securing national success at his first ever awards ceremony can propel him to the Paris Paralympics.

The powerlifting star, 21, was one of 10 nominees for SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award, which celebrates some of the best young talent within British sport.

And at a star-studded award ceremony in London in which he was joined by eight other candidates, the north-east star capped off a memorable year that saw him win European gold and Commonwealth silver in scintillating style.

Swan, who was joined by sporting royalty including athletics great Christine Ohuruogu at Sea Containers House, said: “It means a lot to me.

“I appreciate the invitation and being able to attend this, it’s been my first award ceremony like this!

“I never experienced anything like this before, but just to get this opportunity to come down and meet and talk to other athletes like myself who are doing amazing in my career so far, it just kind of gives us motivation that we’re all going to push forward together now.

“There’s more motivation than there ever has been – at Paris 2024 I’m going to really try and get that gold medal.”

SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award has gained a strong reputation for identifying the best up-and-coming prospects in Britain since its launch in 2006.

Previous winners, including Tom Daley OBE, Hollie Arnold MBE, Courtney Tulloch and Alex Yee MBE, have already amassed over 50 senior medals from Olympic and Paralympic Games, World and European Championships, as well as Commonwealth Games, to establish themselves as household names.

Swan’s award comes after his two visits to the podium this summer, which came just five weeks apart in a period that proved mentally and physically demanding.

But he admits that he has set an incredibly high standard that he he now needs to live up to.

He added: “I’ve never experienced two back-to-back competitions like that before so it was hard on the body.

“It was hard to stay motivated and keep that level of intensity but to have a medal from each competition back-to-back, a gold and a silver one is really good.

“It has set the standard for myself so all I want to do now is get better and better now. I’m currently No.1 in the world rankings going into Paris 2024, so it’s just about staying motivated and getting stronger and going to 2024 and hopefully getting a gold medal.

“I might have a World Cup at the start of next year, and I’ll definitely attend the World Championships in Dubai in August. It’s where I’ll see if I’m still No.1 and from there it’s just straight into Paris 2024.”

SportsAid’s Celebrate the Next event, kindly supported by Royal Bank of Canada, was hosted at Sea Containers House in London thanks to Hogarth Worldwide. Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk to find out more.