Marathon runner Derek Rae will fly the flag for Kirkcaldy and Fife at this summer’s Paralympic Games in Rio.
The 30-year-old received the news he had been waiting for on Tuesday when he was confirmed as a member of the Great Britian team that will travel to Brazil in September.
The Fife AC runner becomes Disability Sport Fife’s 25th Paralympian since the association was formed back in 1977.
Derek revealed that it was a dream come true to receive the call-up after years of hard-work and dedication to the marathon running.
“It’s still very surreal,” he told the Press. “It was a hectic day when I got the news with people phoning and leaving emails.
“It will probably take a while to hit home.
“I’m in the middle of my training block which will take my mind off it.
“I’m just focusing on training for a marathon, not the Paralympics, so as not to put too much pressure on myself.
“I’m just going to relish it and use the experience well. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”
In June 2010 Derek was involved in a serious motorcycle accident which left him with massive injuries to the right side of his body including arm, ribs, shoulder, head and eyes, resulting in a brachial plexis injury.
Superb care and rehabilitation from the NHS allowed Derek to return to running with his arm in a sling, but he never imagined he could compete in a Paralympic Games.
“After the accident I just thought I’d be happy if I was able to run again,” he said.
“I didn’t ever think I could get to this level.
“Representing Scotland was an honour, and getting my first GB vest was beyond that.
“Going to the Paralympics is just a dream come true.
“It’s proved to me and many others that anything is possible in life if you’re prepared to work hard and commit yourself.”
Derek joined Disability Sport Fife (DSF) in 2011 and a year later, with support from Scottish Athletics, he received a classification of T46 from International Paralympic Committee classifiers (IPC).
Being classified opened up opportunities in disability sport for Derek to compete in tandem with his involvement in mainstream sport. It would not be long before he was challenging for international honours with British Athletics.
Derek signed up with coach Ron Morrison from St Andrews for coaching advice and support and he has not looked back since.
In the 2014 Virgin London Marathon Derek ran 2:45:50 and one year later he ran 2:40:40 as a member of Team GB. An impressive personal best of 2:37:28 in April this year in London cemented his place in the Paralympics.
DSF will also be represented in Rio by paratriathlete Alison Patrick from Dunfermline and boccia player Kieran Steer from Crossgates.