Paul Noble

Date: 02/11/2016

Paul Noble has won 15 Paralympic medals across a career spanning more than a decade. He proudly competed as part of Team Scotland in the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002.

As a 15-times medallist in the Paralympic Games and proud competitor for Team Scotland at Manchester 2002, para-swimmer Paul Noble knows all about the buzz and excitement that accompanies a big multi-sport event.

He hopes the Games coming to Scotland will encourage more people with disabilities to access sporting and other opportunities in their area.

He said: “If the Games help people with disabilities take notice and realise that there are opportunities out there for them, that would be a fantastic legacy to create. We have a strong network of clubs in Scotland with good disabled access.”

Growing up in Glenrothes in Fife, Paul first started swimming whilst still at primary school. Born with brittle bone disease, a doctor suggested he try the sport as part of his rehabilitation and things progressed from there.

Through his early teens, Paul swam at his school Glenwood High and at a local club for athletes with disabilities through Disability Sport Fife.

With his undeniable talent recognised at a national championships when Paul was aged just 17, he joined Glenrothes Swimming Club where he took part in a structured swimming programme to prepare him for competing at Paralympic and Commonwealth level.

He continued: “I had always enjoyed swimming but didn’t start training seriously I was in my late teens. After a national competition, I was put on the long list for the 1984 Paralympics in New York but never thought I would actually get to go! It was an incredible experience to be part of.”

Participating in five Paralympic Games, Paul came home with a medal from each one and even set a new world record in Barcelona 1992 – something he still sees as a career highlight. Although he finished competing for Team GB in 2000, Paul couldn’t resist stepping up for Team Scotland when the opportunity arose to be part of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002.

He said: “Being part of the Commonwealth Games is such a different experience to other multi-sport competitions as instead of being a stand-alone event, both competitions take place at the same time. I remember seeing big sporting names like Ian Thorpe in the Athletes’ Village and thinking it was surreal but definitely something quite special too.

“It was huge to get to be part of a united Team Scotland and to walk out in our kilts at the Opening Ceremony. It was the first opportunity I’d ever had to do this so it was definitely something I’ll never forget. It was a very proud moment.”

Paul is now looking forward to Glasgow 2014 and what it might mean for other potential elite athletes with a disability living in Scotland:

“We’ve seen what can happen to the national mood when a big event like London 2012 takes hold and I’m sure Scotland will bring the feel good factor to the Commonwealth.

“It’s especially great for young people with disabilities to see para-athletes not just competing on the world stage but right on their doorsteps too. It shows just what can be achieved if you work hard for it and hopefully might inspire a new generation of young para-athletes in Scotland to take up sport.”