An interview with Andy Barrow –GB Paralympic Rugby Captain
Three BST would-be journalists interview the remarkable Paralympian and GB Wheelchair Rugby Captain, Andy Barrow during his recent very well-received visit to the school.
Andy Barrow is a true inspiration to those who would like to succeed in life. His experiences have helped him grow into a wise individual who delivers advice fantastically. He spoke about his own inspirations and how he pushed through the hardest times of his life to make himself a successful sportsman.
From a young age, Andy Barrow was a very sporty person with the motivation to want to get better but he never intended to play sport professionally. Rugby was a very large part of his childhood, but he never thought he would have the privilege of representing his country. Andy was injured aged 17, whilst playing in a rugby match, where a scrum left him paralysed from the chest down. The loss of all control of his legs and weakened muscles in his arms and hands put him in a wheelchair.
It was the worst moment of my life but also the most important. It made me realise you cannot change the past and if you take too much time worrying about the future you take your eye off what is happening in the present.
It was during his recovery time in hospital that Andy became aware of the sport wheelchair rugby also ominously known as Murderball.
He started off playing little by little and the stronger he became, the stronger his passion for the sport grew. He ended up finding a wheelchair rugby team in London not far away and it was here that his wheelchair rugby career kick-started.
Andy overcame his injury and applied his belief that with A LOT of hard work anything can be achieved to play wheelchair rugby professionally. Andy’s ambition and determination led him to become Captain of the British team and led his team to three world championships, five European championships and three paralympic games. Andy’s team won 3 consecutive gold medals at the European championships. Andy commented that he enjoyed being Captain and learnt a lot from the experience. We asked Andy what he thinks it takes to be such a good captain and he said: You do not have to be the best player on the team to be the best leader of a team. You need to be able to recognise people’s strengths and weaknesses and bring the team together to work together effectively. You win together, you lose together. This was one of many of Andy’s great pieces of advice to those who would like to be leaders in the future.
Representing my country was a real honour but leading Great Britain was huge. Singing the national anthem in front of 12,000 people every time we played… And then to parade around London after the games in front of half a million people…
We asked Andy several questions based around the idea of inspiration. He said that no matter what obstacles come your way, push past them. Keep working hard and stay motivated, you never know who you might be inspiring. And finally, Andy said that he believes that life is a series of opportunities and you must take any opportunity that comes your way; you’ll only grow as a sportsman /woman or any other successful occupation, if you take what you can and use it.
Your life is a series of opportunities or chances, strung together by the choices and decisions you make. You are ultimately in charge of your own destiny. It is possible to triumph over adversity, and take positives from everything in life.
We certainly learnt a lot from our interview with Andy Barrow and hope to be as successful as he became one day.
Saori (Year 8), Harvey Hymas (Year 9) Riko Otsuka (Year 9)