James and Sarah training
Dreams can come true
by Sarah Waldron, Blast Reporter, BBC H&W
This week I interviewed a Paralympic shooter from Hereford, who told me all about his incredible journey through life so far.
It was only my second interview for the BBC and, because I wasn't familiar with shooting, I was pretty nervous beforehand.
The chat went really well - perhaps because James shares my passion for sport and drive for success.
He was a very inspiring person who provided firm evidence that dreams really can come true.
Dying for victory
I'm going to take you right back to the beginning of the story.
James, aged 21 was in a serious motor bike collision, and was rushed to hospital - his hopes of survival were very small.
For three weeks there seemed to be no hope, and James told me how he knew he was slowly dying, but that he was content.
Before the accident, he was just an average guy trying to realise his potential as a sportsman - something requiring dedication, determination and a whole lot of desire.
During the three weeks following the accident, he was fighting for his survival, and so these three qualities were tested to the max.
James went on to explain that he had a dream during his three weeks of 'out of body experience'.
Coach Ben Harwood
He said the dream made him realise that he still had a whole lot of things to offer the world, so, like any true Olympian would, he fought-hard.
For a year, things were surreal, and sadly his mother passed away a few years later.
Some may call him lucky, but I believe in this world you make your own luck.
For James, luck didn't come into it - strength and desire did.
After coming to terms with the loss of functionality in his right arm, James set himself many challenges as a shooter.
He starting competitive shooting only five years ago, but in 2007 had already equalled a world record.
He then modestly told me (only when asked) how he's ranked among the top 15 in the world for his disability category.
He describes Beijing as 'incredible', and is now looking onwards and upwards to London 2012.
James opened my eyes to the 'bigger picture'.
As an athlete coming back from a stress fracture injury, I was able to put my life and career in perspective, and feed off his inspiration, learning that belief is the way forwards.
last updated: 06/08/2009 at 11:07