Highlands & Islands

Paralympian David Smith speaks about tumour

Media captionCyclist David Smith will not compete at Rio 2016

Scots Paralympian David Smith has told of the love-hate relationship he has with the spinal tumour that has ended his bid to compete at the Rio Games.

The 37-year-old was hoping to be part of the Great Britain Para-cycling team after winning rowing gold in 2012.

He has already recovered from three rounds of surgery on the tumour and is to be operated on again on 1 March.

Smith said the tumour caused him constant pain but had also led him to inspire others with severe illnesses.

He told BBC Radio Scotland's The Stephen Jardine Programme: "It is a love-hate relationship. In a lot of ways it's changed who I am as a person, I think.

"I receive so many nice emails and support and what moved me the other day was that I got an email from someone whose son has cystic fibrosis.

"At the end of the email they said 'please never give up because our family is holding it together on your strength'."

Stop breathing

Smith, from Aviemore, said that if his efforts to cope with the cancer gave hope to others he could not be angry at his situation.

The paralympian also told the programme how sport had given him the mental and physical strength to deal with the tumour.

He said he had already prepared a timeline setting how, and by when, he plans to be able to cycle again.

Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption Smith has already planned on returning to the saddle

Last September, when the tumour returned, he said he wanted to delay surgery in a bid to make it to Rio.

But earlier this month he revealed that the tumour had grown so much that if it was left alone it would crush his spinal cord and he would stop breathing.

A fall from a bike had also caused the tumour to bleed, adding a further risk to his health.

Smith won gold as a rower at the London Paralympics in the mixed coxed fours but switched to cycling after the Games.

In June last year, seven months after his last surgery, he cycled up Mont Ventoux in France three times in one day.

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