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Daniel McMillan - Handball
4:09pm Tuesday 24th July 2012 in Olympians
WHEN London was awarded the Olympic Games in 2005, Team GB handball player Daniel McMillan had no idea he would be competing in them.
In fact, amazingly, it would be another two years before he even started playing the sport that he will represent Great Britain in this summer.
Few people can have trod such an unusual path to realise the Olympic dream.
For McMillan, his journey began in front of his computer screen.
The 29-year-old from Sway had been a talented American football player, competing in the elite German league after university. It was while living there that he came across handball.
When he saw an online appeal from UK Sport in 2007, asking athletes to try and transfer their skills into a minority sport – including handball – he decided to apply.
McMillan successfully negotiated a trial and was eventually selected as one of 12 people to join the British Handball Association’s full-time programme.
“I was doing it as a one-off chance to get the opportunity to work towards an Olympics ,” said McMillan, who is a member of the Hampshire Talented Athletes Scheme.
McMillan has since gone on to become a regular member of the British squads, before having his Olympic place confirmed just three weeks before the Games begin.
“It is hard to explain exactly how I felt when the coaches and support staff told me I was selected for the Olympic squad,” he said.
“There was a massive sense of relief, like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders.
“That was probably because I have spent the past five years training for a new sport so foreign to me in an effort, a long shot, that I would be good enough to be a contender for a place on the Great Britain Olympic team for our home Games in London.”