I’m going to be totally honest from the get-go and say I’m a competitive athlete and in the modern world of social media, your media presence is everything when it comes to achieving support or sponsorship. While I love sharing my story and believe it has the potential to inspire, motivate and encourage people, I’m also shamelessly seeking good publicity!
So, a quick overview of my story.
I’m 30 years old and an international competition climber on the GB paraclimbing team.
In August of 2010 I had an accident, a 35ft fall, which led to me breaking my back in two places, and dramatically smashing up my ankle. Following six months in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, a couple of eight hour-plus spinal operations and various other ops and procedures, I had reached a point where I shuffled around a bit on crutches but predominantly I was a wheelchair-user. With huge amounts of dedication, continued physiotherapy and gym work I reached a point where I was walking fairly effectively (however painfully), but as I walked better the damage to my ankle (which had been irrelevant in a wheelchair) became more apparent. Cut a long story short, a few ops later and lots of opinions considered I opted to have my leg amputated below the knee in 2013 and I’ve not looked back since.
Prior to my accident I was a keen rock climber and an outdoor instructor and I’ve returned to climbing in a big way. In 2016 I competed in three out of the four national paraclimbing series and reached a podium position in each leaving me in third position for the overall series. I was then invited to join the GB paraclimbing team and have had my first season of competing internationally. It was an exceptionally steep learning curve and the competition pressure alone was something I have had to learn to adjust to, but I managed to hold my own. Honestly, I don’t believe I’ve even scratched the surface of what I could yet achieve. I’m currently training like a bit of a madman both at the wall and at the gym, determined to get lighter, stronger and more powerful. Following this year’s national series, I am currently ranked second in the UK, and I am determined to be a serious contender at international competitions this year and beyond.
In addition, almost more importantly, I also want to position myself so that I can do some big expeditions and push the boundaries of what it means to be ‘disabled’.
Alongside the competitive rock climbing I also want to do some big wall climbing around the world in the future. I’m a keen kayaker and lover of adventure and exploring. I really believe I will get to some interesting places; it would be wonderful to have the backing to really push the boundaries of disability.
My current goal list consists of:
Compete at the next world championships.
To one day achieve V10 grades.
To lead 8a climbs. This and the goal above refer to climbing grades which are exceptionally hard grades for anyone, let alone someone with injuries. These goals will push me incredibly hard.
White-water kayak grade 4 rivers.
Run more obstacle course races.
Alongside all of this, my ambition is to be an ambassador for sport in general, show its life-changing powers for people, both mentally and physically, and I want to be an example. By that I mean I want to be an example of good sportsmanship, I want to be an example of what hard work looks like, an example of the power of positivity and an example to my boys to never give up on their goals.
My faith has been a huge part of getting through my initial injuries, rehabilitation, surgeries and recovery. I don’t know how I would have handled anything in that time without God pulling me through on one side and my wife pushing me through from the other.
Don’t know if this is helpful or not, but a friend made a short documentary as a university project. It might give you a feel for who I am: youtube.com/watch?v=GyTMUp8DD8Q&list =UUAYyYLlk8tdq1ob4RC3juQg
You could also get a feel for who I am through Instagram, too, @josh_senior and I have recently started my own YouTube channel which is very much in its infancy but I’m excited to see where it goes – https://www.youtube.com/user/jts107
So that’s who I am. If you are interested in doing something, let me know.
Thanks so much for reading.