Zac Shaw

Zac Shaw

Zac Shaw - Para Athlete T12 Sprinter

Zac Shaw wearing his gb athletic kit.“Parasports showcase my ability within my disability, and I’ve learnt to embrace it.”

Zac Shaw, 26, is a visually impaired Para-Athlete for Great Britain who competes in T12 athletics. He first had concerns with his sight after he complained to his teacher at school that he couldn't see the board. At age 13, Zac was diagnosed with Stargardt Disease, a genetic condition that often begins in childhood and causes progressive sight loss.

"I have no vision in the centre of my eyes, so things disappear in the middle. My left eye is slightly worse than my right. It's like I'm looking through a fog."

Zac says that he has learned to live with his impairment, but that it was sport that gave him confidence and empowered him to be himself. Zac has been interested in sports from a young age and particularly enjoyed football. However, he found that there were few opportunities for him to play and that focusing on the movement of the ball for too long gave him headaches. He discovered athletics after participating in a Playground to Podium scheme run by British Athletics and knew it was something he wanted to pursue in the future. Zac also attended one of British Blind Sport's Have A Go Days.

"British Blind Sport Have A Go Days gave me an excellent opportunity to try new things. It was refreshing to attend an event where everyone had a similar impairment and could compete on a level playing field with no advantages or disadvantages."

Zac says he began to take sport seriously when he was 18-years-old. He now aspires to compete at the highest level to show other blind and partially-sighted people that having a visual impairment does not have to be a barrier. His advice to people who want to start their journey is to give things a go.

"Just take those first steps. Sport, in general, is so important for improving peoples lives. If you work as hard as you can every single day and put everything into it, you might not achieve what you want to, but you'll never have any regrets."

Zac is currently training in preparation for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and World Athletics Championships in 2022. He aims to represent Great Britain in the Paris Summer Paralympics in 2024.