Colin was educated at Queen Anne HS in Dunfermline and introduced to Disability Sport Fife by school support staff. Colin first made his mark as a swimmer, like so many other young disabled sports people, but it was clear early on that his international future lay in track athletics. During the 80s he was the outstanding T36 sprinter in the world and won 5 gold and 1 silver medals at the Paralympic Games in New York and Seoul.
Colin raised the standard in his class during his time at the top and became a hugely respected international athlete. He was an excellent cross country runner and medalled at Paralympic, World and European level. Colin was the leading T36 athlete on the track during the 80s and he was instrumental in raising standards in the class during his relatively short but illustrious career.
Colin was the first DSF member to be coached in a mainstream athletics club. Fife AC must be congratulated for its vision and for adopting the inclusion model before it been identified as the way forward. Coach Eric Simpson was the inclusive coach who provided outstanding support for Colin during his decade as the lead athlete in his class in the world.
Colin’s impairment was cerebral palsy but he had secondary sensory challenges of deafness, epilepsy and absence of speech. These challenges were worked through by athlete and coach with massive support from Colin’s late father Bill. The support offered by his family throughout his competition years was exceptional and critical to his success. Colin’s outstanding achievements came in 400 metres but he also excelled in the shorter sprints. Memorable images from New York and Seoul will always be his tenacious cross country successes. Colin was an automatic Scotland and GB pick during the 80s. During his career Colin had many outstanding races against his GB team mate from Bishopbriggs Gordon Robertson. For a period they were ranked numbers one and two in the world in the T36 class.
In Colin Keay and Caroline Baird, Fife and Scotland produced the two most talented and exciting T36 sprinters of the 80s and 90s. Each was introduced to Disability Sport Fife as a school pupil by family or school support staff. Each started out in swimming and most importantly very early on in their careers pursued an inclusive pathway with guidance from two excellent inclusive coaches. Both athletes broke down many barriers and gained the respect of everybody in Fife athletics and Scottish Athletics in general at the time.