Borders curler David Melrose going for gold at Paralympics and hoping to box clever too

Wheelchair curler David Melrose is going for gold at this year’s Winter Paralympic Games in China and he’s already picked out the postbox in his home-town in the Borders that he’d like repainted that colour if he manages to pull off that feat.

By Milly McEvoy
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 5:31 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th January 2022, 5:31 pm
Borderer David Melrose, second from right, in curling's Team GB for the 2022 Winter Paralympics with, from left, Hugh Nibloe, Meggan Dawson-Farrell and Gregor Ewan (Photo: Graeme Hart/Perthshire Picture Agency)
Borderer David Melrose, second from right, in curling's Team GB for the 2022 Winter Paralympics with, from left, Hugh Nibloe, Meggan Dawson-Farrell and Gregor Ewan (Photo: Graeme Hart/Perthshire Picture Agency)

The 55-year-old has been selected for Paralympics GB’s team and will head to his maiden games in Beijing in March.

The former firefighter and grave-digger is hoping to be able to join the tradition of gold medallists having a postbox painted that metallic hue in their honour, but first he’ll have to bring a medal home to Duns.

Melrose, one of the first five athletes selected for Beijing 2022, said: “It was a bit of a flippant remark when I started curling, but to me the ultimate goal is having a gold postbox in your town.

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Berwickshire's David Melrose taking part in 2021's world wheelchair curling championships in China (Photo: WCF/Alina Pavlyuchik)

“It doesn’t matter how it’s painted gold and your name doesn’t need to be on it, it’s still an achievement.

“I absolutely have a postbox in mind. It is the one in the town square and it’s one of the big round ones.

“That’s the one I am aiming for, and if they don’t paint it, then I’ll just nip along and paint it myself!”

The father of two enjoyed a dream debut on the global stage as he was part of the silver-winning Scotland team at the 2019 world championships, also held in Beijing.

They were beaten on home ice by Paralympic champions China, and Melrose is heading back there in the hope not of getting even but of getting ahead.

“The first worlds I appeared in were a bit of a blur,” he recalled. “It was like ‘you’re now playing in the worlds’, and I was probably just caught up in the headlights like a rabbit.

“Pretty much everything flew past, so this time I’m going to really try and enjoy the full Paralympics event going on, but when I need to, I’ll try and switch myself on, get in the game mode and play how I know I can play.

“We beat China at the worlds in October, so that is one each for us, so a decider, I think, against China in the final would be lovely.”

Melrose, acting as second in Stranraer’s Hugh Nibloe’s rink, was on hand to defeat China 3-2 in the round-robin stage of the 2021 world championships but was not able to add to his tally as Scotland finished sixth.

Great Britain have won two wheelchair curling medals at Winter Paralympic Games and Melrose is keen to help add to that tally.

“It’s such a simple sport to play. You don’t need to transfer into any special chairs. You only need a cue and that’s basically it for curling,” said Melrose.

“To make it to the higher level, I’m not going to lie about it, it is a lot of hard work. To reach the Paralympic level is a big step, but it is an achievable step.

“I can prove at my age that if I can stick four years of being an elite athlete and make it to that point, anybody can, to be honest.”

Melrose is hoping to help add to the 1,000-plus medals achieved by British athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding for elite sport in 1997. No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players as they raise more than £30m each week for good causes including grass-roots and elite sport. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag #TNLAthletes