Through the power of sport, I’ve grown to realise I’m stronger than I ever thought I could be – both physically and mentally
Sport has been the most consistent thing in my life, and I would say it makes up a huge part of my identity as I’ve progressed to competing in the elite field. However, many people are surprised when I explain OI and my journey to competing internationally. Many don’t believe the two can be compatible, but actually you can have OI and enjoy participating in sport and exercise.
My humble beginnings come from my hydrotherapy days as a child – the water quickly became my safe haven. I was able to move in the pool in a way I wasn’t able to when out of the water. I could swim fast, do rolly pollys, and dive to the very bottom collecting all sorts of objects that lay waiting for me to bring up to the surface.
I suppose it can be a bit of a postcode lottery, but I recognise how fortunate I was to be surrounded by many opportunities to get involved with different disability sports. I live on the south coast so I’m not far away from the open water, countryside, and big cities which all have something to offer. You name the sport and I’ve probably done it!
There’s a particular memory that comes to mind of me rock climbing with one leg in plaster cast, and I suppose that image paints the perfect picture of me and my approach to life. Many people have told me “no” or that I can’t or should not do something, so I like to prove otherwise. I push the limits and I determine how far I go.
Now for the last 6 years I’ve actually settled well into the world of Athletics competing internationally as a wheelchair racer. I started competing on the track, and then last year I dipped my toes into the exciting world of road racing. I completed a couple half marathons and made my elite debut, before Covid kicked us into lockdown… My half marathon PB stands at 61 minutes and I can’t wait to be out on the roads again chasing a sub 60!
I do have to tell you though about the new flame in my life… Adaptive Boxing! Ha, you should’ve seen my mum’s face when I told her! Don’t worry though, adaptive boxing is safer in that it’s focused more on defensive work. It’s more technical and the objective is not to knockout your opponent *phew*.
But you probably never knew this sport even existed, and that’s because it hasn’t, until now. We all know boxing to be one of the biggest sports in the world for able bodied people, right? Yet somehow it’s one of the last to be adapted for those with disabilities.
So you’ll be glad to know I’ve been working with a great team of passionate people at World Boxing Council Cares as one of their newly appointed UK ambassadors to help develop safer adaptive boxing programmes. It’s exciting to be a part of the foundations of a new sport! I can’t wait to see how this journey unfolds.
No matter what sport and what level you want to participate at, I believe anyone and everyone should have the opportunity to access sport without barriers.
Whether I’m competing myself, or helping create opportunities for future adaptive athletes, just know I will always have my heart in sport.