It’s over 20 years since my last visit to Tokyo, so I can’t wait to go back and see just how much has changed. It’s a really cool place and quite futuristic. I do have to admit that I am not a huge fan of the local food, but as I found a way around that in Beijing I’m sure I’ll manage again in Japan!
So much of what makes the Paralympics special is all of the excitement taking place around the games – the culture, the people, the spotlight and the sense of occasion – especially somewhere totally different like Beijing or Tokyo. But when it comes down to it, sporting achievement is why you are there, and you need to be able to shut out the background noise when the pressure points arrive.
Any athlete that heads to the games dreams of a medal, and for me that is no different. I have a schedule and a target in my mind, and I really believe that I can get myself on that podium in Tokyo. Unless my body suddenly gives up, there is no reason that I cannot perform.
My experience with Wheelchair Basketball has prepared me for the atmosphere and the experience, but the competition itself will be very different this time around, in that para powerlifting is an individual rather than a team sport.
Until my first solo competition, I don’t think I appreciated how much I relied upon the basketball team when I played at tournaments. I loved the social aspect of basketball, but powerlifting is different. We are still a team, but in competition the responsibility falls entirely on me. It has taken some getting used to and I’m still figuring out what works best for me.
The last competition I went to I had my headphones on to relax while I was in my room. I would never have got away with that while playing Basketball, the rest of the team would never have let me hear the end of it! But now I am finding out what suits me and what puts me in the best frame of mind to compete – hopefully my future roommates won’t mind too much.
My goal for the next two European Championships is to win a medal. There are six of us on the team which makes us the biggest powerlifting team that we have ever had. It’s a sport on the rise and riding the crest of that wave is really exciting, I see myself as having an opportunity to leave a real legacy in the sport.
After all the years of training and learning about myself, I believe that Tokyo will be the competition where I peak as a sportswoman. I’ve just started on this new journey, and I’m proud to have Path to Success on it with me. I feel like they are really invested in me as a person and in my journey, and that support is extra motivation to springboard myself to new