30 Under 30: Kayleigh Haggo

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Kayleigh Haggo, 18, Maybole, South Ayrshire

Kayleigh has a form of cerebral palsy which affects her balance and motor skills, but that has never stood in her way! She has already won three golds in the European Paralympic Youth Games, set thirteen world records and four national age group records in swimming, race running and club throw sports.

She is currently concentrating on swimming, having taken a temporary break from competitive race running and club throw. Don’t let that fool you into believing that she’s not busy though! She attends six swimming sessions a week with South Ayrshire Swim Team (and gets up at 5 am to go to these!); three gym sessions; and once a month she trains with Scotland para-swim squad in Stirling. She hopes to make Team GB next year and is already thinking ahead to 2020 Paralympic games in Tokyo. She also regularly competes at weekends.

This year Kayleigh started HNC in Sports Coaching and Development at Ayrshire College, and is predicted to gain an ‘A’ grade. As part of the course she works with groups of all ages and abilities, ranging from primary school children to young adults with learning difficulties and physical disabilities. Her compassionate attitude has impressed staff and fellow students alike.

When she is not doing all that, she volunteers as a Scottish Disability Sport Academy Athlete and Co-Tutor, delivering talks, seminars and coaching sessions across Scotland. She is also an Active Schools volunteer and helps out at her local primary school, providing multi-sports sessions.

Her amazing achievements have been recognised by a number of organisations, and she has been awarded: The Herald and GenAnalytics Rising Star Diversity Award 2017; Ayrshire Sportsability Young Athlete of the Year (2012, 2015, 2016); Ayr Rotary Club’s Young Citizen of the Year for 2016; West FM’s The Up and Coming Youngster 2016; Talented Sports Performer Award, Glasgow Life; and Sports for Special Needs Athlete of the Year 2011.

She was also a finalist for Young Scot Unsung Hero Award and a finalist for the College Candidate of the Year at the SQA Star Awards 2017.

Kayleigh is an exceptionally talented athlete and a great student, but most importantly she is a passionate, kind, and driven young woman who inspires others to follow their dreams.


What’s your proudest achievement?

I am proud of every achievement I have reached especially in education, my sports, my coaching role and volunteering.

What women inspire you?

Women who inspire me are those who work hard to turn their dreams into reality.

What change would you like to see for girls and young women in Scotland in next 10 years?

Changes I would like to see for girls and young women in the next 10 years are to have more opportunities for access to sport and the costs associated with participation in sport to be significantly reduced.

What can we do to shatter the glass ceiling once and for all?

In my sporting career, para athletes continue to be treated differently from those who are able bodied, and para athletes with greater disability have more barriers than higher classified athletes. I am still struggling to scratch the glass ceiling.

What 3 women (past or present, real or fictional) would you invite to your dream dinner party/picnic?

3 women I would like to sit down and chat with would Beth’s Queen, Marilyn Monroe and Beyoncé.

What would your message be for girls and young women in Scotland?

My message for girls and young women in Scotland would be to try, try, try until you succeed.

Pictures courtesy of Kayleigh Haggo

You can see the full list of our amazing 30 Under 30 2017 finalists here, and keep a look out on the blog as we feature  a different finalist every day throughout November.

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