History People Paralympic athletes Paul Cartwright Paul Cartwright started wheelchair racing in 1978 and competed in the 100m sprint at the 1984 Stoke Mandeville Games. “I first got into sport in about 1978. I tried a bit of everything but then discovered that I really enjoyed wheelchair racing. I began with a local disabled sports club and things started from there… I competed in my first international event in 1981; and then I really started concentrating on my training for wheelchair racing. Back then, in 1984, you had to find the money and the sponsorship yourself. I did a sponsored 9 mile wheelchair push in an old Everest and Jennings chair to raise money for my new sports wheelchair… I made a point of joining an able-bodied athletics club, at Spenborough, West Yorkshire to train. The reason for this was that I had already realised, I needed some athletic coaching on a full time basis – rather than just at squad training weekends, every 6 weeks. That was why I wanted to join an able-bodied club: to get access to the professional coaching." Of course it wasn’t that easy in 1981, because no one had ever considered taking on a disabled athlete, in fact prior to joining the athletics club, I had initially been refused access to the club, because of fears that my wheelchair would damage the track.