Sam’s ready for Paralympics

Sam McIntosh will compete in the 100 and 400-metre wheelchair races in Rio. 158264

By Justin Flynn

OCEAN Grove’s Sam McIntosh will jet off to Florida tomorrow (Saturday) to prepare for his quest for a Paralympics medal.
The 26-year-old will compete in the 100m and 400m wheelchair events at the Games in September, but will first spend two weeks in Tampa with the rest of the athletics team at a pre-Games acclimatisation camp.
“It’s kind of a nervous confidence,” McIntosh said.
“I’ve been working on becoming more consistent. I’m a chance on paper, but on the day it’s about who puts in the best performance.”
McIntosh fell from a BMX in 2007 and fractured his C6 vertebrae, rendering him with incomplete quadriplegia. He fractured another vertebrae in his neck on New Year’s Eve in 2011.
He competed in the London Paralympics in 2012, but wants to improve his performance.
“I was fortunate to go to London and have that experience,” he said.
“Watching the final in London and seeing the other athletes on the podium, it made me realise that I wanted to be there.”
McIntosh’s best time for the 100-metre race is 17:30 seconds.
“I’d need to at least do that to be a chance of a podium finish,” he said.
“There are two Americans that are very good. I raced up against them in Switzerland and they were the only two to finish ahead of me.”
Since London, McIntosh missed the 2013 World Championships and struggled for form.
“We decided to focus on my best event and that was the 100,” he said.
“I’ve been having professional training for seven years, but specifically for the 100, probably three years now.”
McIntosh qualified for the Paralympics at the Summer Down Under event in Canberra in January and has been swamped by the support of the local community.
“The Geelong community and Ocean Grove is always right behind me,” he said.
The opening ceremony for the Rio Paralympics is on 7 September and McIntosh will begin his heats on day two of competition and, hopefully, on day three he will be racing in the finals.