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Christian ex-Paralympian reveals how to handle pressure ahead of Rio

Wed 07 Sep 2016
By Alex Williams

A Christian former-Paralympian who represented Great Britain at London 2012 has told Premier Christian Radio how he coped with the pressure of competing before crowds, ahead of the Rio Paralympics opening ceremony on Wednesday night.

Michael Sharkey, who lives with a visual impairment and has competed in the global event, was part of the Paralympics GB team who secured 120 medals in London four years ago.

Speaking on the Inspirational Breakfast programme, he said: "You've got all this nervous energy and I found that the best way to deal with that is to pray and to give it over to God as much as possible and trust Him that he would bring His Holy Spirit and that would really help and make sure we perform to the best of our ability. It very-much worked."


The build-up to the 15th Summer Paralympics has been overshadowed by financial and doping concerns, while the discovery of state-sponsored drug use in Russia has led to the country's entire team missing the Games.

Michael believes certain sports have a weaker following in Brazil, compared to the UK, and this may be one factor why financial concerns have surrounded the Rio Paralympics.

He said some people are still getting used to disabled sports, adding: "We're all familiar with football, rugby, cricket and the [other] mainstream sports but actually we don't get an opportunity to see all the other sports which, in my opinion, are very, very interesting.

"I understand that the Brazilian people are very, very keen on sport that they have an opportunity to do well in. So, that's great but there's not that same passion for sports that there isn't a Brazilian representative involved in."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May released a video message for the Rio Paralympics in which she said: "I want to wish all of our Paralympic athletes every success and I say to the whole country: Let's super-charge the team and cheer them on to glory in Rio."

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