Gregor Ewan out to prove a point at Paralympics after PyeongChang wake-up call

Wheelchair curler Gregor Ewan is determined to prove a point at Beijing 2022 following some serious soul-searching and a transformative weight loss.

Scotsman Ewan was on Tuesday selected for his third successive Winter Paralympics after a bronze medal at Sochi in 2014 was followed by a disappointing seventh-placed finish in PyeongChang in 2018.

The 50-year-old admits he failed to perform in South Korea four years ago amid a battle with his health before suffering the devastating blow of being dropped from Scotland’s squad on his return.

He subsequently shed almost eight stone and quit smoking.

Ewan’s drastic action helped earn a recall by his country for last October’s world championships and he has now secured another shot at Paralympic glory after being named in GB’s five-strong team for China alongside Hugh Nibloe, David Melrose, Meggan Dawson-Farrell and Charlotte McKenna.

“When I came back from Korea, things in my life were not going well,” he told the PA news agency.

“I was in a lot of pain, I was taking a lot of medication and I started asking myself a lot of questions: ‘Did I do enough? Did I put my heart and soul into it?’

“And the answer was simply ‘no’. The last four years I’ve put a lot of effort in to get to where I am now. I’m definitely in a stronger place.

“I needed to give myself a shake, wake up, I was just getting bigger and bigger and it was either go and buy five XL clothes or stop eating them chocolate bars, stop eating crap and start working harder.

“That’s what I had to do and that’s what I did. I want to prove that I can do better.”

Ewan became a wheelchair user aged 35 after years of heavy lifting on building sites eventually led to a spinal collapse.

“It’s not just on ice that it (weight loss) has helped but being able to lift myself off and on chairs,” he continued.

“My delivery is longer than it was, now that I don’t have that stomach I can stretch a wee bit further which gives me a couple of extra inches of control over the stone, so it’s all good.”

The five Scottish curlers are the first members of GB’s team to be confirmed for the Winter Paralympics, which are scheduled to take place from March 4-13.

Former firefighter Melrose, who was paralysed by an accident at work in 2010, was included after helping Scotland win silver at the 2019 World Championships.

“I think momentous is probably the feeling that comes to mind,” he said of his selection.

“Inside, I’m absolutely bubbling and glowing with pride.

“You plan out your life and mine just went upside down at the age of 45. It was like: ‘What now?’

“The family have been driving me the whole time, through my accident, the rehabilitation, getting into sport, they’ve been by my side the whole way.”

The mixed-gender sport was introduced to the Paralympic programme at the Turin Games in 2006, with GB winning silver in the inaugural year and bronze in Russia eight years later.

Nibloe has been selected for the second consecutive Games after travelling to PyeongChang, while Dawson-Farrell represented Scotland in Para athletics at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow before switching to the ice.

Fellow newcomer McKenna is the team’s travelling reserve.