Page last updated at 19:27 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 20:27 UK

Wheelchair strong man in campaign

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Dan Smith spends hours in the gym

A bodybuilder who is paralysed from the waist down is to become the first wheelchair user to appear in the sport's national finals.

Daniel Smith, 33, of Four Marks, Hampshire, lost the use of his legs in an accident at work.

He is now campaigning for a wheelchair category in the UK Bodybuilding Fitness Federation (UKBFF) contest.

The father-of-one hopes his story will inspire more people with disabilities to take up the sport.

His life changed three years ago soon after he began competing as an able-bodied bodybuilder.

While installing air conditioning in a warehouse in London, he slipped and fell 20ft (6m) through the skylight onto a concrete floor.

He spent six months in hospital and was paralysed from the waist down.

Depressed

He said: "When I first had my accident I was at home all the time and I was starting to get more down so I got back into my training.

"It was really hard to start with but I just thought it would be alright. But it wasn't until I'd been there two or three months and really got going on the physio that I really started getting depressed."

Mr Smith has been running a campaign to encourage more wheelchair users to start bodybuilding and has already had a positive response.

This weekend he will travel to Nottingham to the UKBFF British Championships where he hopes to gather more support.

He added: "If I can inspire other people, just getting one, then that's done it for me. But if I can get 10 or 15 people, that would be incredible."



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