Paralympic hopeful Samantha Kinghorn has emphasised the importance of diet for young athletes after recording a new personal best.
The Gordon wheelchair athlete returned from Stoke Mandeville, where it all began, with a new personal best for the 400 metres on Sunday night.
The 17-year-old is back in action this weekend when she contests most distances at the DSE national junior athletics.
With such a busy schedule, Samantha knows better than most the importance of eating the right thing at the right time.
Launching a nutrition guide booklet for athletes and young people, she emphasised the important role nutrition plays in her training and recovery.
“A healthy, balanced diet is essential for me to maintain my energy levels throughout the day so I can exercise and study,” said Samatha, who hopes to compete at Scotland’s 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
“I have my sights set on competing at the Commonwealth Games and at the Paralympics in Rio. To do that, I know I need to train hard, focus and eat well.
She eats three meals a day and snacks on the likes of nuts, yoghurt and Nutrigrain bars. She has a chocolate milk after training.
“If we have pizza, it’s all homemade and we don’t eat much bread or cakes because my Dad (Neil, who is gluten intolerant) can’t.
“It’s just about keeping your body well. It depends on how much I’m training as to how much I eat. I don’t want to put on weight because I’m having to push myself on the chair, but I eat a lot more than the average person because I train.”
She also drinks two litres of water a day and has a vitamin C drink too.
“Nutrition is very important, you can feel it. If you haven’t eaten so well, you don’t feel so good. If I have had fast food, I feel it when I’m sweating in training the next morning, you feel sluggish because of all the grease.”
Samantha admits eating breakfast was a new experience when she started training.
“I never used to eat in the morning. I was a typical teenager and went to school on an empty stomach. But now, having to get up and train before school, you have to eat. It improves my performance quite dramatically.”
The teenager was paralysed from the waist down in December 2010 after an accident while clearing snow near Gordon.
Her hospital physiotherapist noticed she was an active teenager and took her to Stoke Mandeville, the national centre for disability sports, where she tried everything and loved wheelchair racing and she’s been taking that world by storm since.
“I love it. Now I’ve been in the sport for a year I know everybody. It’s good to see them all (at competitions). Everyone’s really nice.”
She will contest the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,500 and 3,000 metres this weekend.