Hot Stuff

My funniest moment in my athletics career would have to be March 14th 1999. It was my 21st birthday. I’d flown out with the Welsh athletics team. We had gone warm weather training in the Algarve in order to prepare ourselves for the Paralympics in the future. The day began just like any other. I waited in the foyer of Hotel Atlantis where we were staying. The rest of the team shortly followed. They sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me twice, once in English and then in Welsh. I was deeply touched.

We got on the bus and  were driven to a nearby stadium, where we began our first of two training sessions for that day. I was very glad of lunch and an afternoon nap afterwards.

Later that evening I put on my lilac trouser suit and went down to the restaurant to join my teammates for the evening meal. I wasn’t sure of the menu, so I chose Piri Piri Chicken. I had one mouthful and it blew my head off.  Everyone at the table just burst out laughing. I was sitting next to Anthony (the coach). He poured me a much needed glass of water. When I got over my ordeal I couldn’t stop laughing.

We finished our meals and moved on into a large function room. I was then presented with cards, gifts and the biggest birthday cake I have ever seen. I had no idea that this was happening so I was pleasantly surprised. The gift that sticks in my mind the most is a Little Miss Bossy glass that Anthony gave me. I remember opening it and chuckling as I thought to myself… he knows me so well. He then commented that he’d put on his pulling shirt just for me. My reply was “You should be so lucky” (ha ha).

Anthony bought me a brandy and coke which I drank out of my new glass. Luckily I was given the day off the next day…

Before our evening came to a close, we went through to the bar and joined in with the karaoke. It had been such a wonderful night that I decided to throw caution to the wind and sang ‘New York, New York’ by Frank Sinatra. The looks on people’s faces were priceless and it was my turn to laugh, but the crowd were warm and humbling. I went round to say thank you and good night to everyone, then off I went to bed!


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