Paralympian Scott Meenagh has inspired the next generation of sports professionals as part of University of the West of Scotland’s vibrant programme of Freshers Week activities.
In an interview with Chris Easton, Professor of Exercise Physiology and the Head of the Division of Sport and Exercise at UWS, Scott told new sports students about his inspiring journey from paratrooper to Paralympian and how UWS’s Lanarkshire campus facilities helped him prepare for the Winter Games.
Scott was just 21 years old when he lost both his legs above the knee during an incident serving in Afghanistan. He told students about his time as a paratrooper in the Helmand Province and the lifechanging incident stepping on an improvised explosive device.
Scott movingly discussed his recovery and how he turned to sport, which he said gave him a purpose in life again. He is now a GBR Para Nordic Sit Skier and produced his best-ever Paralympic result when he finished sixth in the long-distance biathlon race at the Beijing 2022 Paralympics.
After Scott was unable to join his teammates at the Italian Alps for training ahead of the Games, his coaches suggested he used UWS’s state-of-the-art environmental chamber to undertake altitude training.
Commenting on his experience using UWS’s facilities and working with the team, Scott said: “I’d like to thank Chris and the team here at UWS. When we asked if we could use their facilities due to me being unable to get out to training, they never even blinked before they said yes. I explained the situation and Chris offered me carte blanche access to the laboratory and the extreme environments chamber here at the University.
“I spent the week prior to Beijing at UWS’s Lanarkshire campus instead of the Alps doing training, which, at the time would’ve been the desired option. But I came into the lab every single day and did my focused work – the guys were fantastic to the point where they were even coming in on a Saturday morning to open the lab.
Those are the things I will never, ever forget. The journey was so collective. People really helped me get to where I wanted to go.