Wheelchair curling ace Dawson-Farrell relishing sporting journey from Glasgow 2014 to Winter Paralympic Games

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  • David Melrose
    Scottish male wheelchair curler
Dawson-Farrell, Hugh Nibloe, Gregor Ewan, David Melrose - and alternate Charlotte McKenna - will fly the ParalympicsGB wheelchair curling flag in Beijing
Dawson-Farrell, Hugh Nibloe, Gregor Ewan, David Melrose - and alternate Charlotte McKenna - will fly the ParalympicsGB wheelchair curling flag in Beijing

Almost 5,000 miles separate Hampden Park and the Beijing National Aquatics Centre but for wheelchair curler Meggan Dawson-Farrell, starring in the global spotlight at this year’s Winter Paralympic Games will feel like nothing new at all, writes Will Jennings.

Scottish star Dawson-Farrell, from Tullibody, represented Scotland as a wheelchair racer at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and eight years on from the Glasgow bonanza, has officially secured her status as a Paralympic athlete.

But it’s the Chinese ice, not Summer Paralympic track, that the 29-year-old is targeting after boldly deciding to switch sports following her seventh-place finish in the T54 1,500m at Hampden Park in 2014.

Dawson-Farrell suffered a pressure sore in her leg after the Games that took her out of action for five months, triggering her decision to give wheelchair curling a go as she recovered in 2017.

It proved a match made in heaven since taking to the ice and half a decade later, she will now form part of ParalympicsGB’s five-strong team set to descend on the Beijing National Aquatics Centre – this year’s wheelchair curling venue – in two months’ time.

Dawson-Farrell, one of the first five athletes selected for Beijing 2022 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, said: “It’s incredible and I can’t wait to get out there now and compete.

“Going through school, I had nothing sport-related, and it wasn’t until later on in life I found athletics. I absolutely loved it, had a passion for it, trained 24/7 and managed to get to Glasgow 2014.

“But after my pressure sore took me out of action for five months, I started to lose myself a little bit and needed something else to focus on while I was still in recovery.

“I went along to curling, tried it out for the first time ever and fell in love. I haven’t looked back since. At first, I was doing a bit of both but then eventually decided it was too difficult to do the two.
“I had to make that decision as to which one I was going with, and it wasn’t a hard decision in the end.

“I prefer it – I absolutely love the team aspect and having other people to train with.

“I’m raring to go, know I’m going and now it’s just like: right, let’s get into training and get on that plane.”

Dawson-Farrell will be joined Hugh Nibloe, Gregor Ewan, David Melrose and alternate Charlotte McKenna in the Chinese capital and at 29, will be the youngest member of ParalympicsGB’s wheelchair curling team.

Great Britain won bronze at Sochi 2014 and silver in Turin eight years earlier, but are yet to ascend the summit of the wheelchair curling podium after they were knocked out prior to the semi-finals at PyeongChang 2018.

Dawson-Farrell, Nibloe, Ewan, Melrose and McKenna will fly out to Estonia this month as they ramp up their Paralympic preparation ahead of the Games beginning on March 4.

The Central Lowlands star is relishing the prospect of featuring on the big stage once again and as ParalympicsGB 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, added: “Ultimately, every athlete wants to be able to inspire the next and younger generation.

“It’s now full-on training every day – it’s a case of getting there, being as fit and healthy as I can be and giving myself the best opportunity to do the best I can and enjoy the experience.”

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise more than £30 million each week for good causes including grassroots and elite sport. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes

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