Veteran wheelchair curler David Melrose’s goal at Beijing 2022 is to achieve a post-box in his hometown painted gold.
David Melrose, 55, is setting his sights on a medal at the Winter Paralympics in Beijing this year – but for him, the ultimate prize is having a postbox in his hometown painted gold.
The former fire-fighter and grave digger will compete in his first Paralympic games this month and is hoping to be able to continue the tradition of gold medal winners having a postbox painted gold in their honour – a trend that manifested itself most notably after London 2012.
The 55-year-old Duns curler is one of over 1,000 athletes who are able to train full-time, access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support thanks to vital National Lottery funding.
He said: “It was a bit of a flippant remark when I started curling.
“But to me, the ultimate goal is having a gold postbox in your town.
“It doesn't matter how it's painted gold and your name doesn't need to be on it, but it's still an achievement.
“I absolutely have [a postbox in mind], it is the one in the town square and it's one of the big round ones.
“That's the one I am aiming for and if they don’t paint it then I'll just nip along and paint it myself!”
Melrose enjoyed a dream debut on the world stage when he formed part of the Scotland team at the 2019 World Championships.
The team scored a second-place podium finish but missed out on a gold medal when they were beaten by Paralympic champions China.
But Melrose, acting as second in Hugh Nibloe’s rink, was on hand to defeat China 3-2 in the round-robin stage of the 2021 World Championships but was not able to add to his tally as Scotland finished sixth.
He said: “The first Worlds I appeared in was a bit of a blur. It was like: you're now playing in the Worlds, and I was probably just caught up in the headlights like a rabbit.
“It was pretty much everything flew past, so this time I'm going to really try and enjoy the full Paralympics event going on and try to enjoy it. But when I need to, I need to try and switch myself on, get in the game mode and play how I know I can play.
“We beat them [China] at the Worlds in October so that is one each for us, so a decider I think against China in the final would be lovely.”
While Melrose is keen to come home with some silverware, he also wants to show what is possible.
“It's such a simple sport to play, you don't need to transfer into any special chairs, you only need a cue and that's basically it for curling,” added Melrose, who will aim to add to the 1,000-plus medals achieved by British athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding to elite sport in 1997.
“To make it to the higher level, I'm not going to lie about it, it is a lot of hard work, to reach the Paralympic level is a big step, but it is an achievable step.
“I can prove at my age, if I can stick four years of being an elite athlete and make it to that point anybody can, to be honest.”
Since National Lottery funding to elite sport started in 1997, over 1,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals have been won, with more to come in Beijing 2022, Paris 2024 and beyond.