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.