Since competing at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Sammi Kinghorn has gone on to become a double-World Champion and undoubtedly one of the most exciting para-athletes in the country. Four years later and with little over a week to go until the Gold Coast 2018 Games kick off, we caught up with Sammi to talk about training, the glorious Scottish winter and koalas, before the red mist descends.
CW: It's been a while since we last caught up. How has training been going?
SK: It's been going well despite the cold winter weather we recently experienced in the UK. As my events in the Commonwealth Games are the 1500m and marathon, rather than the usual sprints that I compete in, my training has had much more of an endurance focus.
CW: How was the journey out to Australia?
SK: It was a long journey to Australia with the flight to Dubai taking 7 hours and then the flight to Brisbane adding another 14 hours, not to mention the 10 hour time difference. We had an athletics camp for the first week before moving down to the whole Team Scotland camp. We'll finally go into the Games village around four days before I first compete.
CW: It's all getting a bit real then! What plans and preparation have you got in line for the next few weeks?
SK: I am training as normal out in Australia before starting my taper down nearer to competition time. My 1500m heat is on April 9th and the final (if I make it) is on the 10th. Then I've got the marathon on April 15th.
I'm staying out in Australia for six weeks after the Games so will be a real tourist then, although I have already held a koala since arriving!
CW: You made the 1500m final back at Glasgow 2014. What has changed since then?
SK: I'm definitely more experienced as a racer since 2014 but I don't normally race over 1500m as my main events are sprints. I did two races in 2017 just to qualify. I was 5th in Glasgow and go in to these Games ranked 5th. I go into the marathon ranked 4th, but I've only raced one marathon back in October last year.
In my personal life, I moved into my own home in Glasgow this year!
CW: What makes the Commonwealth Games different?
SK: It is the only opportunity I have to represent Scotland in a large Games context so I was keen to make sure I qualified even though the events are not my favoured ones. I am always proud to pull on my country's vest, whether that be for GB or Scotland.
CW: The Scottish Borders are a bit chillier than The Gold Coast. What conditions do you prefer?
SK: I was snowed in for a few days before coming out to Australia when at my parents' home. I prefer the hotter weather although it's been wet and windy so far in Australia, but much warmer than at home!
CW: Temperature aside, how do you keep your cool on race day?
SK: I have a routine. I actually get fairly stressed and I am sometimes sick before a big race.
CW: What would a medal mean to you?
SK: It would be a dream come true.
CW: Finally, what music gets you in the zone for training and racing?
To follow Sammi's journey, and read the full interview visit: christopherward.co.uk/challengerprogramme/sammi-kinghorn
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