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Amputation could be Dave's 'liberation'

By Tom Ramage

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Aviemore’s rowing, cycling and paralympic legend David Smith MBE has told the Strathy of his latest ordeal just days after wowing at London’s Sporting Club Sports Awards.

The cancer and paralysis battler must now decide whether or not to have his left arm amputated.

The clock was ticking down as he prepared for a consultation with specialists over his paralysed limb today.

“For five years now it’s been like carrying around a rucksack full of stones,” he confessed.

Inspiratonal talker: Dave Smith addresses last week's Sporting Club Awards in London
Inspiratonal talker: Dave Smith addresses last week's Sporting Club Awards in London

The omni-gifted 43-year-old had, just days before, been given a standing ovation at the Kennington Oval by some of the world’s greatest competitors, from his fellow winners like Mark Cavendish, Frank Bruno and John Barnes to Dan Carter and Jason Leonard.

Pele, the world’s greatest ever footballer, had also been due to join him at the ceremony to receive
his own lifetime award, until a last-minute health scare saw the Brazilian taken to hospital.

“It was amazing, being asked to address the ceremony,” said Dave, “and they all welcomed me so warmly. It was overwhelming, so humbling.”

After the show, a Sporting Club spokesperson posted: “One of the highlights on Tuesday was hearing from the legend David Smith MBE.

“He truly had the room inspired and everyone appreciated listening to his story.

“Thanks for joining us David!”

Not long after making Paralympic headlines at London 2012, the athlete entered “another world
altogether” several years later in a life-or-death struggle with a spinal tumour and its many
associated complications.

It is his spirited fight against impossible odds which has inspired others even more than his sporting prowess.

“Now it’s decision time again,” Dave told the Strathy.

“I’ll be guided by the surgeon, but losing something like four kilos of dead weight could be a liberation for me.”

Read more of this story in this week's Strathy

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