Disabeld former champ swimmer from Chadwell Heath proud to be Commonwealth Games volunteer
- Credit: Archant
A disabled former champion swimmer has been chosen to volunteer at the Commonwealth Games.
Callum Hanslip, of Cavalier Close, Chadwell Heath, will give out information such as venue changes and results to athletes, officials and VIP guests in Glasgow this summer.
The 30-year-old, who broke six world records in swimming when he was younger, was encouraged to apply for the role after being chosen to be a Games Maker at the London 2012 Paralympics.
“I thought I wouldn’t hear anything but I got an interview and I was then accepted. I never thought I would get another big games after London so I was so excited when I found out.”
Callum fell from a 20 foot high window when he was 18 months old, leaving him with a fractured skull, semiplegic in his right hand side, in one eye and suffering epilepsy.
Paramedics said he “landed like a cat” on all fours, saving him from further injuries, but feared he would not survive the night.
“They said they didn’t know how I had landed like that,” Callum said.
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He started swimming competitively at the age of seven after joining the Barking beavers swimming club to aid his physiotherapy and went on to win 788 medals, as well as missing out on a place in the butterfly swimming event at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics by half a second.
He has volunteered for sporting events since retiring from swimming eight years ago.
Callum, who had his leg amputated above the knee six years ago after dislocating it while playing rounders, said he doesn’t let his disability define him.
“People think that when you have a disability you need a lot more help and when you go shopping they try and help you without asking you first, which can be embarrassing,” he said.
“Some people stare at you and children ask their parents ‘why has that man got one leg’ but if people just come up to you and ask, we will tell you.”