I am Jonathan Collins. I am 26 years old. I was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus and I have had several periods of ill health. In 2004 an undiagnosed shunt failure left me with poor sight. I am wheelchair dependent.
I attended the local mainstream school and I wasn’t encouraged to do any sport. I tried Boccia at a club, 30 miles away, but I was the youngest by at least 50 years! I also went to some “sports taster sessions” but nothing was worth pursuing. A weekly trip to a swimming pool became my only form of activity. Unfortunately this came to an end when another health issue occurred.
After school I went to a college 10 miles away and after that I did some voluntary work, but still NO SPORT. I enjoyed watching it on television, especially football, rugby and athletics. I have been a Manchester United fanatic since childhood and I volunteer at the famous Mary Rose Museum. Both of these things gave me something to focus on but they did not require much exercise so I started to put weight on. I needed to do something.
It was great news when I was told there was a Fencing club that accepted wheelchair users only 10 miles away. It had been running sometime but I didn’t know it existed. I went along and met my trainer, Viv Mills, who is well known in the Fencing World. Viv is very patient and understanding but she expects me to do my best and put up a good fight. My favourite weapon is the sabre but I also do the foil. Viv points out my mistakes, shows me how to correct them, explains new things but is always full of encouragement so I look forward to every session. Fencing has given me my confidence back.
I have been to some of the training camps that the Great Britain team go to. I have met some of our top fencers and have even fought against some of them. I am looking forward to the 2017 training camps.
Fencing has made a great impact on my life. It made me aware that I was overweight so I did something about it. I have lost 3 stones and I feel a lot fitter, look a lot thinner and I am also much poorer as I needed a whole new wardrobe of clothes. I have made a lot of new friends and I feel a lot happier.
You don’t have to be at the “TOP” to enjoy fencing. It is GREAT AT ALL LEVELS.
Wheelchair Fencing Twitter Account the Link is https://twitter.com/Jonatha56744262
Youtube Page https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8u3wXWb_v9Wet6CnxuVNLw]