European success for disabled golfer

Published Wednesday, 16 April 2014
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A Ballynahinch man, who was paralysed after a car accident 36 years ago, is taking the golfing world by storm.

European success for disabled golfer
Mark Gibson shows his silverware to his friends. (© UTV)

Mark Gibson picked up two European titles in Barcelona, Spain last week, and doesn't plan to stop there.

Mark has been in a wheelchair since he was 17 following a car crash.

He took up golf just over a decade ago and has never looked back.

He managed to clinch his titles with the aid of one arm and his specially designed buggy.

"There's no real blueprint for playing golf with one arm from a buggy so over the years, I got my buggy organised, practised a lot, moved things and shifted things [while designing his buggy].

"I was helped by some local people for there's a lot of welding to do 'cause we made the buggy ourselves from scratch."

Now aged 53, not only does he compete in two tournaments a week against abled body people, he also plays off a standard handicap of eighteen point six.

Speaking on his success, Mark said that it came after a lot of effort put in by him and all the people who'd helped him along the way.

"It was good because I didn't really know what the competition was like. I don't play in Europe often because of the costs involved.

"I didn't really know the standard over there."

This is not Mark's first taste of sporting success. He's also a talented snooker player and lifted a world title in 1982.

Mark clearly hasn't let his disability hold him back and plans to defend his titles next year.

"There's no special rules or any allowances for me. I just play off the same tees, play out of the same bunkers, play on the same course.

"That's the way I want it to be. I don't want any special treatment of any sort."

Following his European win, next on the cards for Mark is an assault on his British counterparts this July.

© UTV News
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