Sammi has participated in three Commonwealth Games and clinched a bronze medal in the 1500m event at Birmingham 2022. Her repertoire spans various distances, including the 200m, 400m, 1500m, and Half Marathon. 

Notably, she secured gold in the 100m at the World Para Athletics Championships in Paris in 2023, along with silver medals in the 400m, 800m, and Universal Relay. Additionally, she earned a bronze in the women’s T53 100m at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2021.

While she continues to train hard, Sammi has also expanded her horizons beyond the track. Awarded an MBE in 2022 for services to Disability Sport, Sammi has taken on the role of presenter on the widely watched UK TV show, Countryfile. She has also recently appeared on the much loved BBC programme, Blue Peter where she is mentoring Abby Cook who took part in the wheelchair race at the 2024 London Marathon. 

In this exclusive interview, Samantha offers a glimpse into her post-Commonwealth Games endeavours, her unwavering commitment to sports, and what is important to her. 

What are the standout moments from your time as a para-athlete in the Commonwealth Games? 

Sammi:  The Commonwealth Games is probably my favourite event to be part of because it is completely integrated which is just really nice. My favourite moment of all time would be going out in Glasgow 2014. It was my first major championship, it was in Scotland, and I was wearing my Scotland vest, so yeah, that was the biggest standout moment for me. I was nervous beforehand, but once that gun went off, I loved it and was in the zone. I didn’t win any medals in Glasgow, but it was an ‘I love this’ moment. 

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Women's Women's T53/54 1500m Final

How has your life changed your life and career change since you competed in the Commonwealth Games both in and out of sports? 

Sammi: I think when I was first selected for the Commonwealth Games, I started to believe that maybe I could be quite good at this – it could be my job, it could be something. Before, I had the mindset that I was just enjoying my hobby. The Commonwealth Games made me see that I could compete with the best in the world and made me keep training, keep pushing to see where it would take me. It was a powerful moment because it was such a shift in attitude and expectation. One of the hardest things in sports is truly believing in yourself if you can.

Receiving the Bronze Medal at Birmingham 2022

Can you talk about the challenges and victories you've encountered since the Commonwealth Games and how they shaped your journey? 

Sammi: This is quite a difficult one to explain but what shaped my journey a lot was realising that happiness does not come with the medal. A lot of athletes think if I just win gold, then I will be happy. But that is just a fleeting moment and the training and everything else is a lifetime. If you look at the hours you spend competing compared to the hours you spend training – well you will see how just tiny competing is compared to the whole process. You have to enjoy it. You need to be happy going into the major tournaments – my coach always said that you compete best when you are happy. That is so true and I think I was lucky to realise that as a young athlete. For me, the moments I will look back on the most is the time with your training partners, with your team, and the hard work that was put in to get where I wanted to get. I remember winning my first major medal and thinking – ‘oh, this doesn’t solve all the other problems. My first major medal was at the Paralympics in Tokyo and it made me think of my family and how much they mean to me, having nobody in Tokyo to celebrate with really gave me a perspective into what is important. For me, it’s all about the journey and having some balance as well.

Have you stayed active in your sport or sports community after the Commonwealth Games? If yes, what role do you play? 

Sammi:  I guess I just try to be – that horrible word – a great inspiration. Maybe some kids see me and think, if she's doing it and she could do it, then so can I.

Looking back what lessons or skills from your core Games journey have been invaluable in your life? 

Sammi: It has taught me how to deal with nerves and anxiety and that sort of thing. I think I come across as quite an outgoing person, but I get shy around lots of people. Being involved in sports and say sitting in a call room full of athletes, and then going out into a stadium full of people has built my confidence. 

Tell us about projects or causes you're passionate about or working on. 

Sammi: I’m doing a lot of stuff on TV and loving doing Countryfile. For me, being outdoors and being in the country is important to me. I don’t wake up every morning feeling ready to train and sometimes I’m in the worst mood and don’t want to speak to anyone. I always find it amazing how exercise or being outside can lift that. I wish I knew the power of that when I was younger. 

Sammi mentoring Blue Peter's Abby Cook ahead of the 2024 London Marathon.

What advice would you have for any aspiring athletes eyeing Commonwealth Games or any other international competition? 

Sammi: What works for me is having different types of goals. Like short-term achievable goals, something like I want to improve my bench-press by a certain time. If you keep training, then that is pretty achievable. Checking off those goals gives you a nice boost. Then have some longer-term goals – set your sights as high as you can too, if you believe in yourself then I genuinely believe you can succeed. But it takes hard work and dedication and that is why the short-term goals are so important to keep you motivated and disciplined.

You mentioned having short-term and long-term goals, can you share with us your current goals? 

Sammi: I had a few short-term goals that I’ve achieved already so I am looking at setting some new ones. They will be like improving my pushing technique in the chair – it won’t be something anyone else will notice apart from me. My long-term goals are going to the Paralympic games and hopefully coming home with a medal. I would love to compete in another Commonwealth Games for Scotland too and hopefully improve on my bronze medal at Birmingham 2022. As long as I am enjoying it, I want to continue in the sport as long as I can.