AFTER months braving the biting winter chill, training on the country roads near her family's farm in the Berwickshire village of Gordon, Samantha Kinghorn will head to the sunny climes of Dubai this week.
Loading article content
The 18-year-old wheelchair racer will be in action in the FAZAA International Athletics Competition from February 20-26, followed by the Sharjah 4th International Open Athletics Meeting from February 27-28.
Kinghorn will compete over 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m - the latter the distance in which she has already secured her Team Scotland berth for Glasgow 2014.
"I've been working hard and definitely upped the intensity of my training," she says. "It's been freezing but I don't mind the cold. I hate being stuck indoors.
"I'm looking forward to competing in Dubai. It will be a good opportunity to gain some experience with my drafting in my 1500m and to see where my times are at compared to last year. I might not get a PB because it's so early in the season, but it will allow us to see any areas I may need to improve on."
Last month saw Kinghorn celebrate her 18th birthday and to mark the occasion coach Ian Mirfin treated her to tickets for a West End show in London.
"I went down to see Dirty Dancing with Janice [Eaglesham], my coach's wife," she says. "I love the theatre but I'd never been to a live musical before. It was amazing."
ANOTHER athlete who isn't afraid of the cold is Josh Taylor who is currently experiencing -28C conditions at a GB Boxing training camp in Kazakhstan. The East Lothian boxer last week posted a photograph of his adventures on Twitter showing icicles frozen to his eyelashes.
But the 23-year-old remained in buoyant mood about getting in some serious sparring with a strong Kazakhstan and Russian contingent as he limbers up for the 2014 Scottish Senior Championships after battling back from a lingering injury that has plagued him for much of the past year.
"My hand is on the mend," he says. "I'm back sparring and feeling good about myself. It's going to be a great camp to get me in shape and sharp for the Scottish Championships. I fly home on February 18 so I can get over my jetlag in time for competing at the weekend."
Taylor said he was relishing the prospect of challenging for the 64kg light welterweight title as the preliminary rounds get under way at Scotstoun Sports Campus in Glasgow on Saturday. The senior finals will then be held at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on March 28.
"I'm not sure who else has entered but I'm not going to underestimate anyone," says Taylor. "I feel confident in my own ability and that I'm going to win, but it doesn't matter how big or small the fights are, I still get nervous. You never know what can happen in boxing: it only takes one punch for everything to change. You always need to be on your toes."