Sport: T44 Para-Sprinter - 60m and 100m
What is your disability?
Bilateral talipes, which means that when I was born my feet were facing inwards and they had to break my legs to put them forward, so I had a series of operations and essentially my right leg, that calf has distinctly less calf muscle, I have a club foot and I am limited to less than twenty degrees infection when I raise my right foot, so that qualifes me.
What is deemed to be within T44 classifcation?
Amputees from the knee down, basically a disability from the knee down. It’s interesting, the majority of people only have one leg that has a problem, but there is this one girl who has both legs amputated and she is like amazing. She won Rio T44 100m and she’s amazing.
What do you most love about your sport?
I like that it’s over quickly, I like that it’s such a display of power.
What are your experiences of equality in sport?
I haven’t really seen any or that many negative things, or any inequality for full-bodied or able-bodied athletes, I’d say I’ve seen inequality in para, it may be because we just don’t get any coverage and there’s just so many of us it’s stupid. I just don’t know why, it’s just not talked about, like there should be a magazine, there should be a website or just like something. When I got my classifcation, I went online and like I say, I just could not nd anything. Whereas if you go onto normal athletics it’s everywhere you know. So I think that’s the biggest sign of inequality I’ve seen.
I’ve definitely found that in a lot of sports you have to have money, definitely, especially horses, and actually to a degree athletics as well, like I’m really struggling, I need regular physio or therapy of some form and I can’t afford it, I’m a student and it’s really hard. So I’d definitely say that it’s, I suppose that’s another demonstration of inequality really, that it is still for people with more money. Which isn’t good because not everyone with more money is the better athlete.
How do you think it could improve?
There’s just so many things that people with money can afford, that help them to get that little bit extra, that extra physio session or that foam roller or like those spikes, there’s just so many different things that they can afford, that a normal person couldn’t. Whereas, I feel, back in the day it used to be a bit more kind of, if you worked hard you worked hard, you know. There wasn’t so much to get you that bit of an advantage. I think especially with para, making sure that everyone is in an accurate category and there’s enough categories to cover every disability, because there’s a lot of disabilities and there are lots of levels of disability. I wish I could do 1500m or further with para, but I can’t because 400m is the furthest, just little things like that that I think still need to develop a bit, but then I don’t think there are enough para-athletes or enough people going for it, from a para perspective, to open that option up. I think if there was more coverage, then there would be more athletes competing for those places and therefore you would have more room for those sort of competitions, so its definitely a case of trying to promote it.
I really think that schools should have more funding, certainly state, I went to both state and private school and I can tell you there is a massive difference between private and state sport, it’s ridiculous. It’s silly and there should be more recognition, because I feel like if I had been recognised as para or recognised as an athlete a lot younger, I would have got a lot further than I am now. I remember going to a club and wanting to do hurdles and I wasn’t allowed to do it, because there was only the allowance for two people to do it and I didn’t contact them early enough. In private it’s just sort of, it’s so much more, there are so many things going on alongside each other, like one day of the week you’ll do hockey and the next day of the week you’ll do swimming, you know, there is just so much more investment in time and tuition especially.