Cumbrnauld’s Scott Meenagh still on high after Paralympics thrill

Scott Meenagh in action at the Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang
Scott Meenagh in action at the Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang

Give Scott Meenagh a few days, weeks or even months and you’ll still struggle to haul the Paralympian off cloud nine.

For the Cumbernauld Para Nordic skier just getting to PyeongChang was his gold-medal moment, subjecting himself to six, gruelling races across both biathlon and cross-country events.

But the 28-year-old conquered them all and then some, rounding off his maiden Winter Games with a 14th place men’s sitting 7.5km cross-country epic, at times leading the race.

Podiums and medals were not among Meenagh’s immediate aims but with Beijing 2022 already in his sights, the former rower is far from done just yet.

But it was with a tinge of sadness that his PyeongChang experience came to an end, ecstatic to cut it with the big boys for one final time.

“I’m buzzing, over the moon, I’m sad that was the last one but I couldn’t be happier with that result, I felt like I gave it 100 per cent, a really nice, honest account of myself,” he said.

“That was everything I had to give, I left it all out there and that was all I could ask for of myself coming into this Paralympic Games.

“Just look at the size of that field and the calibre of athlete that’s in it, to be up in the rankings this late in the week is something that’s extremely pleasing, long may that continue.

“It’s going to take me a while to come down from cloud nine – if you gave me a couple days of rest then I’d be wanting to do this all over again.

“I just love the drive in this environment, it’s just incredible and the spirit of it all made me quite emotional this morning just thinking about the bigger picture and how significant the Paralympics are.

“That really knocked into me this morning and I was really proud I could take to this stage and show some of my spirit and share some of my journey.”

A former paratrooper, Meenagh was serving in Afghanistan when his life changed forever, stepping on an improvised explosive device and losing both his legs.

But, inspired by sport, he bounced back, narrowly missing out on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games when rowing, going on to divert all his attentions to Para Nordic skiing.

Becoming the first ParalympicsGB competitor in the sport in 20 years and just the third to take part in six races, it’s safe to say it’s a decision Meenagh far from regrets.

His journey is only just beginning though, already throwing his attention to the next Games in Beijing – though surgery and his wedding are on the immediate agenda.

“The body is pretty bashed up but if I wasn’t feeling it now then I wouldn’t have given it 100 per cent, I’m strapped up to the max but you need to be willing to put yourself in a dark place sometimes,” he added.

“I will continue to do this, I love doing this racing and it’s a pretty satisfying way to compete.

“The people who are comfortable in chaos are the one who do well in this sport so I’m proud of myself.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t dare to dream and I am seeing what it takes to be at the top of this sport and I am inspired for life now and I am not going anywhere until I have given an absolute account of myself and I am on that podium.”

Sainsbury’s is a proud long-term supporter of the British Paralympic Association and a champion of inclusive sport for all. For more information on Sainsbury’s commitment to inclusive sport visit http://www.j-sainsbury.co.uk/