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Letting nothing stand in the way of achieving his sporting dreams

When living with a disability, things such as playing sports, exercising or getting out and about can prove to be a challenge. But a disability does not equal inability. At Lifeways we don’t see disability as a barrier to living a fulfilling, happy and independent life, we believe you can still accomplish great things in life and achieve your dreams.

Paul was born with cerebral palsy, a condition that can affect a person’s posture, balance, and the ability to move, communicate, sleep or eat, but he has always believed that anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it. Since he was young, Paul has never let his disability get in the way of his love for sports. During school he enjoyed swimming and went on to win several swimming competitions.

In his mid-20s, following one of his swimming victories, Paul was scouted for athletics, something he had always had an interest in. In the 1980s Paul started his athletics journey competing for Great Britain in C5 sprint events.  With his dad by his side as his coach, they trained three to four times a week at the Able Sports Centre. The main part of the training regimen was long distance running. “The training was tough, but nothing comes easy. I knew if I trained hard I had a real shot of accomplishing something great”, Paul said. 

In 1990, Paul went to The World Games where he broke four world records for 100m, 200m and two relays. Following his success at The World Games, Paul was selected to compete in the 1992 summer Paralympics in Barcelona where he went on to win a silver medal in the 100m. In 1996, Paul retired after competing in the 100m and winning a bronze medal in Atlanta in 1996.

Paul said: “My proudest achievement was winning a silver medal at my first Paralympic game in Barcelona. In that moment, I thought about how hard I had trained and to see that come to fruition was a feeling that nothing can top. I proved to myself and everyone that anything is possible, and you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it”.

At 55, and showing no signs of slowing down, Paul still enjoys an active life and spends the majority of his time playing various sports. Paul hopes to keep inspiring people living with physical disabilities. “I want to encourage anyone with a disability and a dream to rise above their disabilities. If you have a dream you want to achieve, the only thing standing between you and that dream is determination and practice” he said. 

For more information on the support and services we provide to those living with physical disabilities, click here.

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