Paralympics 2016: Former Army captain Beighton can’t wait for para-canoeing debut

If at first you don’t succeed, switch sports and try again. That’s the motto for Shrewsbury’s Nick Beighton as he looks to finally get hold of a Paralympic medal.

Four years ago former Army captain Beighton finished just off the medal rostrum when he and Sam Scowen finished fourth in the mixed scull at London 2012.

It was a result that Beighton, who lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, admits was a tough one to take, especially after directing all his energy during his rehabilitation towards a medal in London.

After a two-year break, Beighton returned – although this time in the sport of para-canoeing – with his performances doing enough to earn selection for the team heading to Rio.

The sport will be making its Paralympic Games debut in Brazil in what is set to be the most competitive Games ever.

And Beighton, who won World Championship K1 200m KL2 bronze earlier this year, is determined to make sure to soak up the whole experience.

“It has been a busy four years. I only got back into training in the last two years so I have been kayaking for 18 months from scratch,” said Beighton, speaking at the Paralympics GB team launch ceremony in London.

“It was tough to miss out in London, because it was so recent after my injury there was a period of adjustment anyway and so I put all of my recovery on winning something in London.

“I got confused with sport, life and all the other bits which went on so when I did not get that goal of a medal really knocked me.

“I messed around with other sports, did something new and wanted a new challenge.

“I wanted a single event too because I was in the doubles with rowing. We came fourth in London and missed out by a fracture, and so I wanted to do something where if we came up short, the failure would be my own instead of sharing it.

“I did not really appreciate London because I got lost in the whole frustration, whereas actually in hindsight it put it in perspective a little bit.

“Rio is very different. I am six years down the line from injury and I have learnt a lot about life and how to deal with things.

“I am happier with who I am and in life. I want to go in and enjoy the experience that is key for me, take the pressure away and celebrate something which is massive for me instead of looking back in regret.”

A registered charity, the British Paralympic Association is the organisation responsible for funding, selecting and managing the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team that competes at the Paralympic Games.

And four years on from finishing fourth on his last Paralympics GB appearance, Beighton is confident his development as an athlete puts him in a stronger position to finish even higher this time around.

“Training has been a tough change. I have always been an endurance athlete, with the rowing and I used to do a lot of cross country stuff before injury,” he added.

“I am now doing a power-based sport and so I have had to reinvent myself as an athlete. I have got to grips with it all over the last few months.

“Physically I am in a good place, I am a much better athlete now than before London, I am in a much better place.

“I am not far away from my best. Of course I want to win a medal, I was third in the World Championships just gone.

“I have improved since then both technically and physically so I am confident I will deliver a good race.”

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Image courtesy of HelpforHeroesTV via YouTube, with thanks.

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