If you’re looking for some inspiration to pursue a sport but something is holding you back, one 18-year-old paraclimber’s story might be just what you need.
Matthew Phillips from the UK has never let anything stop him from following his dream of becoming a professional athlete.
And the most astounding thing about him is that he is missing an arm.
Matthew has competed against other rock climbers on a national and international level even though he has been missing his right arm from below the elbow since birth.
Doctors never knew why he was born this way, but it certainly doesn’t seem to bother Matthew in the slightest.
He has never let his disability get in the way of his goals. In fact, he has developed a unique and dynamic technique of rock climbing that makes the most of the incredible strength in his upper body and left arm.
But what made Matthew decide to choose rock climbing as a sport?
Matthew explained that he actually began his sporting career as a national swimmer, but swimming wasn’t thrilling enough for him!
At his mom’s suggestion, he attended a paraclimbing event in London and came second, despite having never climbed competitively before. In fact, Matthew had only ever participated in rock climbing at birthday parties before then.
From there, Matthew grew from strength to strength. He found a proper coach and has never looked back.
Although Matthew really enjoyed the thrill that the sport offered him, he quickly proved that he had a natural talent for climbing by becoming the best one-armed climber in the UK.
But how does he do it?
“People are surprised. When they see me, they’re usually shocked, they ask me, ‘How did you do that?’” Matthew told Caters News. “There are always things I can’t do, but it’s not about focusing on what you can’t do – the trick is finding the alternative, the next best thing, or something similar.”
But this doesn’t mean that Matthew doesn’t come across obstacles. But he’s always up for a challenge.
“I think what I like the most about climbing is the challenge, being able to do this,” he said. “It makes me feel like I can do anything. There is also the problem-solving aspect – I have to think outside the box,” he said in an interview with Caters News.
Matthew is such an inspiration. It’s amazing what a person can achieve with a little determination and a positive mindset.
“When I was younger, I always liked climbing on trees or up walls,” he recalled to Caters News. “I have never been bullied. While there have been the occasional comments, especially from children, it has never bothered me.”
Matthew is now a climbing instructor and is one of the youngest members of the GB Paraclimbing Team.
If you think that’s impressive, he’s also obliterated the opposition in many of the climbing competitions he’s entered.
He recently beat the World Paraclimbing Championships and came first in his category!
His ultimate goal is to become a fully professional athlete in the Paralympics… and it looks like he’s well on his way to achieving his dream!
To watch Matthew’s mad climbing skills, watch the video below!
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