Dumbarton’s Jim McDonald will be flying the flag for Scotland and going for gold in Leicester, when he competes in the British Polio Fellowship National Indoor Games at the Leicester Marriott Hotel (22-24 March). Representing Scotland at Darts, Jim will take his place in a team of eight under the banner of the Saltire, competing with around 140 members of The British Polio Fellowship who have made it through to the finals in a range of disciplines from around the regions. Having contracted Polio at the tender age of just 8 months, Jim has lived with the condition all his life and in his own words ‘just gets on with it, like many others in the same position.
Jim was twice overall champion of the original British Polio National Games which ran until the 1970s, which was a competitive athletic event comprising a wide range of track and field events as well as a swimming gala. When the onset of older age, combined with the effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), the athletic games drew to a natural conclusion and have now effectively been replaced by the National Indoor Games.
Anyone in Scotland who may have been affected by the impact of Polio or PPS, either individually or indirectly through friends and family can call The British Polio Fellowship on 0800 043 1935.
Having qualified from their regional heats in one of the 9 regions of the country, comprising East Midlands; Scotland; Home Counties; North of England; North West; South of England; Wales; Western; and Yorkshire, participants will compete for a range of medals. 10 individual games will be played: Kurling; Bowls; Darts (standing); Darts (sitting); Boccia; Draughts; Cribbage; Dominoes; 5s and 3s; and Scrabble, with medals up for grabs in all categories and competition extremely fierce.
Jim McDonald has not only overcome Polio and the challenges the condition brings, he has also overcome a serious weight problem which resulted in him becoming a star member when he joined his local Slimming World group in Dumbarton, and losing an incredible 8 stone; not only that, he joined Slimming World as a consultant, and now runs his own class helping other to lose weight.
“Many with Polio have or have had weight issues due to mobility problems,” said Jim. It was an achievement to lose the weight and I’m equally proud to be again representing Scotland at the National Indoor Games in Leicester.”
In attendance and lending his support to the participants at Leicester will be paralympian and London 2012 medal winner James Crisp, a keen ambassador for The British Polio Fellowship. Having contracted Polio as a baby from vaccine damage, this led to James eventually losing the use of his left leg. Having experienced this muscle wastage from such an early age James has always managed his lifestyle around his disability and hasn’t let it hold him back from achieving his dreams.
James Crisp said: “Contracting Polio was obviously a traumatic experience for my parents but one which I was luckily too young to really understand at the time. However, it has made me the person I am today and it’s the reason I am part of the British Paralympics Squad.
“I am a keen supporter of The British Polio Fellowship; working to raise money for the charity through my sponsors and supporters, in order to help others like me achieve their dreams and make the most of their abilities, not focus on their disabilities. The Indoor Games is a unique opportunity for those with Polio and PPS to come together for the weekend from all over the country, keep the Olympic and Paralympic spirit alive and try and fulfil their dreams of achievement.”
Ted Hill, Chief Executive of the British Polio Fellowship, said: “It must be remembered that many of our members who have made it through to the national finals were strong competitors in many sports when they were younger, many having represented their region and country in the original British Polio Games which included track and field and swimming.
“PPS combined with older age means that most of our members can no longer compete in the more athletic sports and games, so the Indoor Games was born as a way of ensuring our members still had a national forum in which to compete and socialise.”
Whilst the level of competition is still incredibly intense and people are clearly ‘playing to win’, equally as important to those with Polio and PPS is the opportunity to catch up with old friends, swop notes about latest treatments and share experiences found to help with day to day living.