CRAIG McCann will complete his fast-track journey to the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ when he competes on the Paralympic stage on Saturday.
The 28-year-old, from Bessacarr, is part of Great Britain’s three-man wheelchair fencing team who will do battle at the Excel this weekend.
McCann, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour aged 19, only began fencing two years ago after being talent spotted at a BPA Paralympic Potential Day.
The former McAuley Catholic High School pupil had attended the event as a rowing enthusiast but has since been taken under the wing of the British Disabled Fencing Association - and has quickly become one of the country’s leading wheelchair fencers.
McCann is the youngest member of Paralympic GB’s men’s foil team who will face Hong Kong in their quarter final on Saturday morning (11am).
McCann said: “I’m aiming to put in my best performance as an individual but as a team we’re currently ranked tenth in the world, so the challenge is obviously to try and get among the medals.
“I expect the atmosphere to be electric.
“Having thousands of spectators in the venue, including family and friends, will give the GB team a huge amount of support and bring plenty of noise.
“It feels amazing to be representing Great Britain at a Paralympics.
“Not many athletes get that opportunity so to achieve this just two years after taking up the sport is an incredible accomplishment.”
McCann was diagnosed with a brain tumour as a teenageer after an RAF medical; his approach is that he wanted to fight for his country in the Royal Air Force, now he fights for his country in a wheelchair.
Despite almost immediately having the tumour removed, the 18-hour surgery left him with severe nerve damage to his left hand side, affecting his hearing, sight and balance.
But his disability has not got in the way of a meteoric rise in his new sport.
He made his international debut at the 2011 Malaga World Cup in Spain and won bronze in both the men’s epee and foil disciplines at last year’s National Championships in Sheffield.
McCann also warmed up for the Paralympics by claiming a silver medal in the foil event at the Nottingham Open earlier this year.