I’m a visually impaired paratriathlete from Cornwall, competing for Great Britain. I gained a Bronze at the Rio Paralympic Games, and look to improve on that going into Tokyo 2020. Together with my guide, Nicole Walters, I am training hard to make it. I have won gold at the World, European and British Champs and am the reigning World Aquathon Champion.
Location: Cornwall, UK
Athlete Since: 2011
Why I became a Paratriathlete
Growing up by the beach in Cornwall, I had always dreamed of becoming a Beach Lifeguard. I loved to surf, and it seemed like the perfect career for me. It wasn’t until summer of 2011 that my dreams unexpectedly and abruptly taken away. For the first time in my life, I was told I couldn’t do something that I really wanted to do, because of my vision. I wasn’t allowed to become a Beach Lifeguard.
At the time I was studying Sports Science and planning on traveling once I had finished. But spurred on by this sudden and surprise change in direction with my career path, I quickly found something new to aim for, where my vision could be embraced as a part of who I am. I found the world of sport, and in particular the paratriathlon. Since then I have never looked back! Everything happens for a reason, and I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t been rejected into Beach Lifeguarding.
My Career so far
After months of training and hard work, I travelled up to Nottingham to take part in my first Paratriathlon race – the British Paratriathlon Championships. But things didn’t go smoothly! With no one there to ‘classify’ me, I was told to race on my own!
Fortunately, I did get classified in time for my second race – the 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Series London… where I was classified and entered into the “Paratriathlon Female TRI-6” category, for the visually impaired. After a hard fought race, to my surprise I came home with a Silver medal, which further spurred on my enthusiasm to explore a career in athletics. But that was no small challenge, as I would come to find out!
I continued to train hard, and participate in races throughout 2012. But with each race being funded in full by myself and my family, we soon came to realize this was not a cheap sport! With each race costing at least £1000 – we somehow made it work.
It was really tough going – but there was light at the end of the tunnel. Finishing off 2012 with 2 silver and 1 gold International medals in the bag, I was fortunately recognized and picked up by British Triathlon in 2013, who would go on to give me all the support and funding that I would need to reach my full potential.
With new support the possibilities felt endless. 2013 was to be an incredible year, with 5 International Gold medals, including 2x World Championships. These results would draw in my fantastic Sponsors who came onboard in 2013/2014 to further support my dreams and goals. With Nissan providing me with a brand new vehicle, and Matrix helping me out with a brand new Tandem… support drives ambition – and my dreams slowly became more ambitious.
After a tough season competing in 2015, with a mechanical in the ITU World Championships in Chicago, creating more pressure to compete and build points towards qualifying for Rio 2016. Gaining Gold in Spain, and Bronze in Portugal, fortunately secured my spot in the Paralympic Games. I was going to Rio!
Rio was an amazing experience. The culture, people and atmosphere was amazing. The event was really well organized. But with a really stong field of competitors, it was going to be my hardest race yet. After a strong swim and bike, put us into good contention to gain the bronze medal. I took home the Bronze medal, which I consider my biggest achievement to date!
That brings us to where I am today. I have a great team of people and brands forming around me to support me in reaching my next goal - to compete in Tokyo 2020!
You can join me on Facebook or Twitter to join me, on my journey to Tokyo 2020.
Just to finish – I would like to say a big THANKS to everyone who has supported me so far and my family for putting up with me!