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Liam's Story

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To mark our 30th anniversary, we’re releasing 30 stories from wheelchair users across our history.

This ambitious and historic project will result in stories being archived as part of the The British Library Sound Archives ensuring that the life experiences of wheelchair users today are captured forever. With thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and The British Library for their support.

Despite starting out  ‘absolutely rubbish at it”, former Kidz Board member, Liam travelled the world playing wheelchair tennis tournaments professionally. He remembers the “eye-opening” moment he first saw a large gathering of professional athletes from all over the world in wheelchairs. 

Liam talks about his sporting life as well as the good times he had studying Sports Psychology at university. Once his studies were over, he knew he had to “get a real job and live a real life’. Most recently, he worked in the events sector for charities describing it as a “special industry to be involved in”. 

We interviewed Liam during the Covid19 pandemic and just before he was about to take a career break and leave the UK to move to Dubai seeking new opportunities..

Listen to the highlights of his interview below

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Motivations to get better at wheelchair tennis - listen to a clip here

“I think because I was absolutely rubbish at it, it drove me mad. I really didn't like how bad I was. I was involved in clubs like anyone else and I played tennis on my feet. I couldn't move or do anything but I could hit a ball just standing there on a walking frame, so I did that. I went to football clubs, ridiculously, you know, and I could barely move. I could kick a ball with one foot while I was on my walking frame, so I did that. And then when I went to play wheelchair tennis for the first time, I could hit a forehand straight over the back fence, but I couldn't get into court and I couldn't hit a backhand over the net. What kept me at it really was that I wanted to get better, ‘This is really annoying. Why am I so bad at this? I know I can do this’. And that perseverance maybe ego inside myself, ”Well, I need to be better at this’ kind of made me stick at it for a while. And I think that perseverance paid off to quite a good extent.”

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University life - listen to a clip here

“I did the full university experience. I was in halls [of residence] for my first year. I moved into a house with some friends in the second year and then moved actually back into halls in the third year. I had a great experience, I was living with 10 other people in my first year who I'd never met and had come from all different walks of life. And we had a fantastic time together. We had too many parties. In my second year, I moved into a house which was pretty much not accessible, to be honest.  It had seven blokes in a small house together, which you can imagine the state of very embarrassing now, but it’s all part of the experience and getting to live with my mates was great fun.”

Life after university and wheelchair tennis? - Listen to a clip here

“There was extra sponsorship available to athletes through scholarship schemes at the University and some other sponsorships that I was able to gain through that. Obviously coming to the end of the degree, I was losing that. I was also in an unfortunate situation at the time that my funding through British tennis and for UK sport was massively reducing as well. Just because of performance’s over that year, hadn't been up to scratch. And, you know, that's completely on me. I was 23. ‘What do I want to do? Do I want to put another four years into this to hopefully to achieve that goal to get to Rio in 2016 or do I decide now that I go into work and build a career that would have a lot more longevity to it than a potentially sporting career will?”

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