I started cycling at 24 years of age after seeing a campaign online titled “Talent 2012” from the English Institute of Sport, looking for talented athletes to potentially compete at London 2012. Out of the 500 initial applications I was successful enough to be one of only eight who represented Great Britain at the Games. I have always been involved in sport from an early age. I started to play football at around the same time I learnt to walk and run. Having a younger brother and a Dad both very enthusiastic about the sport inevitably got me involved. I don’t have many childhood memories that don’t involve my brother and I kicking a ball around.
My enthusiasm for sport carried me through school and for a brief time I even played football away from home near Ipswich whilst I studied at college. I had taken the sport as far I was able to though and spent a few years like most other teenage girls, working in a bar and a local hospital whilst studying further.
The Beijing Games in 2008 fell in the summer months before I started my undergraduate degree in Exercise and Sports Science at Exeter University and it was also that summer that for the first time I had been introduced to the ‘Tour de France’. I remember watching in ore as these men got to be outside in the warm sunshine riding bikes that looked totally cool. I also remember looking at the physique of a lot of the riders and thinking I resemble them slightly having a slight upper body and marginally bigger legs. I happened to hear about the success of our Great British Paralympics squad and also noticed a few of the female athletes had a similar small hand to mine (or my ‘lucky fin’ as a good friend of mine says). It was two years later that I came across the ‘Talent 2012 Programme’
I was born with the fingers on my left hand underdeveloped but until that summer I had never realised that I could be classed in the Paralympics as an athlete with a disability. Growing up and to this day I’ve never allowed my hand to stop me achieving anything. It actually wasn’t until I was on my first road bike that I realised I needed the brakes adapting to safely ride a bike.
I don’t think I was a natural when I started training for London 2012 but perhaps that’s because I had to work so hard in order to achieve. It is this hard work that I have put in for three years that propels me forward to hopefully my first full Paralympics cycle and to fours years of dedication to achieve my goal of becoming a Paralympics medalist. With a bronze medal in my pocket from my first road World Championships last year in Denmark, I plan to capitalize on this over the coming years until Rio 2016. For a full list of my achievements please see Palmarès section.
Currently, I am studying for a Masters degree in Sports Nutrition at Loughborough University. I have a huge passion for nutrition of any kind and happily study and train most days with one complementing the other. When I’m not training or studying I like to spend time with my friends and family and still enjoy watching a good football match!