Wheelchair curler David Melrose has already picked out the postbox he wants painting gold after this year’s Winter Paralympic Games – now he just needs to win the medal.
The Duns athlete, 55, has been selected as part of ParalympicsGB’s team and will head to his maiden Games in Beijing in March.
The former fire-fighter and gravedigger is hoping to be able to continue the tradition of gold medal winners having a postbox painted gold in their honour – a trend that manifested itself most notably after London 2012.
Melrose, one of the first five athletes selected for Beijing 2022, is one of over 1,000 who are able to train full-time, access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support thanks to vital National Lottery funding. He said: “It was a bit of a flippant remark when I started curling.
“But to me, the ultimate goal is having a gold postbox in your town.
“It doesn't matter how it's painted gold and your name doesn't need to be on it, but it's still an achievement.
“I absolutely have [a postbox in mind], it is the one in the town square and it's one of the big round ones.
"I know with this team that we've got an opportunity, we are potential medallists."
Here they are, our wheelchair curlers heading to Beijing to represent ParalympicsGB!#ImpossibleToIgnore 🇬🇧 🥌 pic.twitter.com/tbTcPQj8jM
— ParalympicsGB (@ParalympicsGB) January 4, 2022
“That's the one I am aiming for and if they don’t paint it then I'll just nip along and paint it myself!”
The father-of-two enjoyed a dream debut on the world stage as he formed part of the silver-winning Scotland team at the 2019 World Championships.
They were beaten on home ice by Paralympic champions China and Melrose will head to Beijing with the hopes of not getting even, but getting ahead.
He said: “The first Worlds I appeared in was a bit of a blur. It was like: you're now playing in the Worlds, and I was probably just caught up in the headlights like a rabbit.
“It was pretty much everything flew past, so this time I'm going to really try and enjoy the full Paralympics event going on and try to enjoy it. But when I need to, I need to try and switch myself on, get in the game mode and play how I know I can play.
“We beat them [China] at the Worlds in October so that is one each for us, so a decider I think against China in the final would be lovely.”
"Getting the chance to pull on the @ParalympicsGB kit starts to make it feel more real in what still feels like a surreal experience as the Paralympics is the pinnacle of the sport and there is no higher achievement than getting this opportunity." - Melrose pic.twitter.com/XirvKBAwE1
— C4 Paralympics (@C4Paralympics) January 4, 2022
Melrose, acting as second in Hugh Nibloe’s rink, was on hand to defeat China 3-2 in the round-robin stage of the 2021 World Championships but was not able to add to his tally as Scotland finished sixth.
Great Britain have won two wheelchair curling medals at the Winter Paralympic Games and while Melrose is keen to come home with some silverware, he also wants to show what is possible.
“It's such a simple sport to play, you don't need to transfer into any special chairs, you only need a cue and that's basically it for curling,” added Melrose, who will aim to add to the 1,000-plus medals achieved by British athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding to elite sport in 1997.
“To make it to the higher level, I'm not going to lie about it, it is a lot of hard work, to reach the Paralympic level is a big step, but it is an achievable step.
“I can prove at my age, if I can stick four years of being an elite athlete and make it to that point anybody can, to be honest.”
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