AN East Renfrewshire swimming star has told how he won’t let Covid pull the plug on his dreams of Paralympics glory.

Andrew Mullen will head to Japan next month after winning a place in the ParalympicsGB team for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

The event was due to take place last year but had to be rescheduled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

And 24-year-old Andrew has vowed to make sure Covid-19 does not get in his way, by doing everything he can to avoid the virus.

“I’ve been working towards Tokyo for years and I can’t let my efforts go to waste by being ordered to stay home because I get a positive Covid test,” he told the Barrhead News.

“I’ve got to be really sensible, limit exposure to other people and cut out unnecessary interaction, because the Japanese authorities are quite rightly strict on the Covid front.

“There’s been talk that, if someone has a positive Covid test, they simply won’t be able to travel, even if they isolate afterwards and provide negative tests. That puts things into perspective.”

Andrew said he felt “a huge wave of relief” when it was confirmed he had made the squad for Tokyo.

The former Mearns Castle High pupil has had plenty of backing from loved ones along the way, while housebuilders Mactaggart & Mickel have provided sponsorship.

“I’ve worked really hard for the last 18 months, through all the challenges that Covid has sent our way, to get on the team and I’m grateful for the support I’ve received from my friends and family, coaches, colleagues and Mactaggart & Mickel,” said Andrew.

Andrew had both arms amputated following complications at birth and was also born with a shortened left leg, meaning he only has one fully functioning limb.

However, his sporting achievements are impressive.

Tokyo will be his third Paralympics, having made his debut at London 2012 when he was just 15 and then heading to Rio four years later, where he won a silver and two bronze medals.

“It might be my third Paralympics but I honestly couldn’t be more excited about Tokyo,” said Andrew, from Newton Mearns. “I’ve got great memories of London and Rio but it still feels like an honour to be representing Great Britain in the Paralympics.

“The atmosphere might not be as magical as it was in London or Rio because of Covid-19 but Tokyo won’t be any less special.

“No matter what restrictions are in place, the magnitude of the Paralympics is something that will never be lost on me.

“You’re competing on sport’s greatest stage, so I’ll definitely be right up for it.”

Andrew will compete in the 50-metre freestyle, backstroke and butterfly events and possibly the 4x50m relay in the para-swimming section of the Games, which take place from August 24 until September 5.

The City of Glasgow Swim Team member added: “I’ll be something of a senior statesman but, if I can pass on anything useful based on my experiences to my team-mates who are competing at their first Paralympics, then I will gladly do so.”

Joanne Casey, director at Mactaggart & Mickel, said the firm is proud to support Andrew on his sporting journey.

She added: “We’re thrilled that he has won himself a place in the ParalympicsGB team through his pursuit of excellence and his focus, work ethic and dedication are nothing short of inspirational.”