A Borders fitness fanatic has become only the third Scot ever to reach the final of one the country’s toughest gameshows.
Kelso’s Ali Hay, 28, made it through to the semi-final stage of Ninja Warrior UK at the weekend, despite having to be rushed to a hospital accident-and-emergency unit following his run on the show.
He might have made it look easy to viewers, but Ali had to spend the evening after his appearance recovering in hospital suffering from exhaustion, brought on by an asthma attack.
Despite that, he is delighted to have secured his spot in the final 15, out of more than 35,000 people auditioned to test their strength, speed and personality on the tough assault course.
He joins Scottish Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning gymnast Steve Frew and 13 others in the final, to be shown on ITV on Saturday.
Ali said: “It was ridiculous. It was a really long day. We were in the studio from 7.30am, and I don’t think I did my run until about 5pm.
“I had not been paying attention to my body and hadn’t eaten much all day. Between the nerves and excitement, I wasn’t aware of the time, and the hours flew past. As soon as I went out to do my run, I knew something wasn’t right.
“I almost failed the wall obstacle three times. I could barely see or feel my body, and due to lack of my body’s stable calories, I started suffering from exhaustion, then a mild asthma attack.
“I have had asthma my entire life and have known how to deal with it, but about halfway through my run, you can see me really struggling.
“I was put straight on oxygen, but it took a while for my heart rate to stabilise due to a combination of things, adrenalin highs and lows and thus the mild asthma attack.”
Ali finished his course in two minutes 48 seconds, quick enough for him to progress through to the final 15 with the eighth fastest time but not before an agonising wait for the doctors to give him the all-clear for his time to stand.
“I probably could have shaved 30 or 40 seconds off my time had I been with it,” he said.
“You can see I’m just absolutely done by the end and was still panting 10 minutes after when talking to Ben Shephard.”
Ali watched his appearance at home in Kelso with friends, along with almost 3.9m others across the UK, but again he has to keep tight-lipped about what comes next as his run in the final won’t be shown until this Saturday.
“The final is a completely different kettle of fish,” he hinted. “It really steps things up a gear and is the hardest-ever run on Ninja Warrior UK.”
Ali added: “The run was so tough, but it was a fun course, a great crowd and a good atmosphere back stage.
“I am really chuffed with everybody’s support. Hopefully, it’s been a good shout to all the asthmatics out there too.”