60 seconds with a Tayside athlete: David Birtles

Name: David Birtles

Branch: Dundee City Disability Sport

Wheelchair Basketball, Rugby and Tennis

Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Sports Club

How did you get involved in your sport? Newspaper article showing what was happening at Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Sports Club. Went down and I was hooked.

How long have you been playing your sport for? I’ve been a Dundee Dragons member for 4 years, playing many different sports, competing for last 3 years.

Biggest Strength (as an athlete):
Determination, as I’m not naturally gifted at sports, so have to repeat exercises more then most to learn and improve.

What’s the best thing about your sport? Being able to move at speed, by my own propulsion and just getting involved in sports again, its even  got me out hiking again with a wee bit of added equipment to the wheelchair.

What equipment do you need to take part in your sport? The main piece of equipment is the sports wheelchair, which is loaned to me by Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Sports Club. Also tennis racket alongside tennis, basketball and rugby balls.

Greatest sporting achievement: Very hard to say, playing for Scotland in the 2017 rugby league world cup in France is something that I’m very proud of, receiving my first cap. Winning the first ever wheelchair tennis competition held at the Perth tennis club, which means a lot to me as its the oldest tennis club in Scotland.

Favourite Para-athlete: Gordon Reid MBE. It was amazing to see him win Paralympic Gold and Wimbledon in the same year and he presented me my Novice singles trophy at the Glasgow national tennis tournament in 2016, which made it even more special.

Favourite athlete to compete against:
As I say I have to work pick to things up and improve, so its good to play with and against Michael Mellon (fellow Dundee Dragons member) who’s a natural at any sport he tries.

Any advice for someone interested in your sport? Get involved in a club like Dundee Dragons and try out the many different sports on offer and with most sports the wheelchair skills are very similar, which makes it easier play more sports and finding the right sport for you.