A FORMER Welsh Paralympian will be tackling Mount Kilimanjaro in his wheelchair.

John Harris, 67, from Sebastopol, enjoyed a successful career as a paralympian and competed in five Paralympic Games.

His highlights were winning gold in the discus in the 1984 Games, and claiming silver in the discus and bronze in the pentathlon at the Seoul Games in 1988.

Now, 50 years after being paralysed at the age of 18 after falling 18 metres from a fairground ride, he is preparing to tackle Mount Kilimanjaro.

His long distance experience includes completing the London Marathon in 1987 and twice participating in Push Around Wales, which saw him cover 600 miles in 37 days.

As he awaits his off-road chair, Mr Harris, has started training on rough terrain.

He said: "I’m building up my muscle and cardio strength. Training has been tough and I have ended up being thrown from the chair a couple of times. It took me four hours to cover three miles as I kept getting stuck, but I’m determined."

Snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is Africa's highest peak, standing at 19,336 feet.

Mr Harris and a team of four are looking at tackling the Marangu route in October, it is the shortest route, but has a low success rate due to lack of time to acclimatize.

Mr Harris said: "I need to be mentally strong. The wheels will be sticking and I will be thrown out of the chair, so it will not be easy."

The teams effort is to raise funds for the charity Dreams and Wishes that provides gifts and holidays for seriously ill children and their families.

He said: "As much as I hate it, I will need to be helped for the last 100 metres to the summit, but I’m determined to get there for the charity.

"I’ll be 68 when I do it, but I would rather die trying as the charity deserve me to give it my best."

For more information and to sponsor John Harris visit http://kilimanjarojohn.blogspot.co.uk or www.justgiving.com/fullcircleltd