A WHEELCHAIR athlete and disability sport advocate from University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has been named one of the 100 most influential people living with a disability in the UK.

Gemma Lumsdaine, who is studying a Masters by Research (MReS), is one of just seven figures from the world of sport to be listed on the Shaw Trust Disability Power 100. The expansive rankings incorporate individuals from across society, including well-known figures from the worlds of politics, entertainment and science.

Lumsdaine is a member of the GB Wheelchair Rugby Talent Squad, which helps prepare athletes to make the step up to the Paralympic team. She has also played wheelchair basketball at a national level, is a member of the Scottish Disability Sport Young People’s Panel, coaches wheelchair sports for the Dundee Dragons, is a former COVA Young Coach of the Year, and is a mentor for the Scottish Disability Sport Young People’s Panel.

Lumsdaine told how she was taken aback by the achievement. She said: “I honestly didn’t expect it. I knew I’d been nominated but, given the calibre of people who typically appear on the list, I didn’t think for one second that I would end up being named on it. I’m still processing it all.”

Throughout the pandemic, Lumsdaine has worked to provide support to people living with disabilities, organising workout sessions and talks with Paralympians, and workshops and training on areas relating to disability sport, mental health and wellbeing.

She added: “I’m really passionate about promoting disability sports and opportunities, and it means a lot to have been recognised for this.

“This is actually what my research project at UWS is all about – I’m looking at the motivations and barriers to entry people with disabilities experience when accessing, or trying to access, sport and physical activity in Scotland. The academics have been really supportive, and I am excited to be able to research in this area.”