THE adage goes that you should never look to gain from someone else’s misfortune.
But for Matthew Ellis, that is a situation that has gifted him a shot at competing in a once-in-a-lifetime home Paralympic Games this summer.
The 32-year-old, who is from Elsmwell, but currently lives in Miami, believed his chances of competing in London in the seven-a-side event, participated by athletes with cerebral palsy, for Great Britain were over after missing the final squad of 12 in March, having originally made the provisional squad of 14.
However, that was all to change after recent news of an injury to Bury St Edmunds-based star Joshua Beacham, resulting in Ellis being given a second chance to take his place among the squad in what will be his second Paralympic experience, having been part of the team in Beijing 2008 that reached the semi-finals.
Ellis, who was introduced to the sport in 2005 by Steve Bartlett, assistant manager of the England national cerebral palsy team, spoke of his sadness for Beacham, but is now determined to seize his opportunity in what is likely to be his last major tournament.
“It is really disappointing news for Josh that he had to withdraw through injury but unfortunately that is part of sport,” he said.
“The flip side of that is it’s given me a second chance to be part of the squad and I’m really looking forward to it.
“Unfortunately I got into the sport a little bit late at 25 and so this is more than likely going to be my last major tournament but it is amazing to be involved.
“It will great for me to have all my family there to experience everything with me as it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved in a Paralympic Games in your home nation.
“For me personally being in the sport for eight years, it will be a fantastic way to cap off my career and if we can win a medal then it would be a dream finish.”