Meridian In Conversation: Paralympic Rower Kingsley Ijomah 'ready for Tokyo 2020'

WATCH: In Conversation with Paralympic rower Kinglsey Ijomah from Reading, as he talks about his extraordinary journey from contracting polio as a baby to becoming a Paralympic rower.

As part of ITV Meridian’s In Conversation series, we’ve been speaking to Paralympic rower Kingsley Ijomah, ahead of his trip to the Tokyo Games.

Kingsley was born in Nigeria, and contracted polio at the age of 9 months. He came to the UK as a teenager. He now lives and works in Reading.

Kingsley Ijomah's goal is to gain the title "Paralympic Gold Medallist" in Tokyo Credit: Kingsley Ijomah

Kingsley’s disability means he doesn't have the use of his legs and uses a wheelchair to move around. However, this didn’t stop him from learning to row.

Kingsley uses a specially adapted seat, and rows using his arms and shoulders.

Kingsley has been supported by Marlow Rowing Club's adaptive rowing programme Credit: Marlow Rowing Club

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Sarah Gomme

Kingsley will be rowing for Nigeria in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in August as he is both a British and Nigerian citizen.

Like all those going to the Olympics and Paralympic games, Covid-19 meant the Games were postponed for a year, with huge personal and financial sacrifices.

The word 'Arigato', which means 'thank you', written in lights during the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Credit: PA

Kingsley works as a senior software engineer in the day – but trains around his work at Marlow Rowing Club.

Kingsley explains the reasons why he chose to row for Nigeria, instead of Great Britain.

At the World Rowing Championship in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in 2018 Kingsley gained the title "Coolest Rower on the Circuit" by the race commentator.

Kingsley’s goal this year is to gain the title "Paralympic Gold Medallist" in Tokyo. 

Watch Meridian In Conversation with Mandy Hickson who talks to us about life in the cockpit as the UK's second female fast jet pilot, and the only woman in her front line Tornado Squadron.

Watch Meridian In Conversation with Dr Gaurav Gupta, General Practitioner at Faversham Medical Practice and the chairman of the Kent Medical Community. He talks about how the pandemic affected services on the first anniversary of lockdown.