I devoted 10 years of my life to the sport of swimming; competing all over the world at European Championships, World Championships and the Beijing Paralympics. Building towards the ultimate goal – London 2012.
So when an untimely illness prevented me from qualifying for the London Paralympic Games, I was prematurely forced into a life outside the swimming pool. Unsure of what to do next and desperate to still involve myself in sport, I took every opportunity available to me; coaching, public speaking, school presentations and community work. This quickly led to links with the Youth Sport Trust (YST) and Dame Kelly Holmes Trust (DKH) both of which support athletes transitioning out of sport.
During this time I was unexpectedly called up by the BBC, offering me the chance to be a part of the BBC’s coverage of the 2012 Paralympics. Over the course of those 11 days I embraced every opportunity that was thrown at me; commentating, interviewing and reporting – an experience I will never forget.
Since 2012 I have continued to work for the BBC as a Sports News Reporter, and learning all about the world of broadcasting, with a particular passion for covering Paralympic, Women’s and Minority sports.
I first heard about the Women’s Sport Trust (WST) when I was invited to their Be A Game Changer event last year, through the DKH Champion voice programme. I was totally blown away and inspired by the energy in that room and felt empowered to do my part for women’s sport. So when the Champion voice programme offered the opportunity to get involved with the WST it was an absolute no brainer.
Through working with the WST I have had the privilege of observing productive and dynamic board meetings, understanding the logistics of a fast developing organisation and experienced the highs and lows of an innovative and passionate group of people, pulling together to challenge and change the landscape of women’s sport; through the power of role models, increasing media coverage and improving funding opportunities.
When you’re an athlete you struggle to see and appreciate life after sport, but from my experience over the past few years, I can honestly say the opportunities are endless if you remain open-minded and the impact you can have will far surpass any expectations you ever had.