Kelso’s ‘Bearded Ninja’ Ali Hay appears on your screens this weekend, after reaching the final of a top-rated ITV show by the skin of his teeth.
Ali, 30, is now such an accomplished performer on Ninja Warrior UK that it came as a bit of a shock for fans to see him plunge into the pool in his semi-final after losing his grip on a swinging wingnut.
That piece of equipment, named Momentum Shift, proved to be just a bit too hard for most contestants ... and Ali said conditions inside the stadium were awful.
He told us: “At the time of filming the semi-finals, it was 31o outside 34-35o in the studio.
“The red wingnuts were incredibly greasy, and even the guy who wears the ninja suit to demonstrate the course at the start of the show fell in.”
He also said one of the other obstacles was faulty and not locking into place as it should have.
However, Ali has no complaints about the equipment ... his slip-up was all down to him, he says.
“I was just dead intent on going for another record time after getting the fastest time in the semis last year,” he told the Southern.
“At no point in time did I think I was ever going to fall, I thought I was too good for that.
“I was heading for a sub-two-minute time when the fastest to do it was 2.40.
“There was an air of arrogance in what I was doing, I just wanted to go all out.
“The bottom of that pool is really humbling, it kind of knocks you for six.
“I came out and the whole stadium was silent, they couldn’t believe I fell.”
Luckily for Ali, “going for it” was the main reason he is still in the final, ironically.
Because he was posting a fantastically fast time – at only 1.54 when he fell – he has managed a route through to the finals by a whisker.
So he, along with 19 other elite athletes take part in this weekend’s eliminator, the first stage of the final.
Ali – who also watched his girlfriend, Kelso’s Linsey Young, take on the course – said: “This time, there is no room for mistakes. You need to finish the entire course to get through.
“Coming into this, I knew I wanted to be fast, it’s the only way to do it sometimes, when the adrenaline is pumping.
“But I made the decision to take a breath and slow myself down in key areas.
“This year, it really is the best of the best competing in the show, the calibre is extremely high.”
See how the Borders’ own ‘Bearded Ninja’ gets on this Saturday at 6.30pm on ITV.