Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Welsh Paralympic Medal Hope Who Doesn't Have a Disability

Paralympian Tracey Hinton and her guide Steffan Hughes.

On the track Steffan runs with a rope tied around his left hand and the same rope is tied around Tracey’s right hand.

The guide runner compares the technique used as that of a three legged race “but with your arms.”He said: “Our arms drive forward and back in unison and then I have to cut my stride pattern into Tracey’s natural running pattern, so it should look as if we are running in unison.”  He says the pair’s relationship off the track is key to their success.   “We’ve got along so well from day one,” he said.   “She puts her full trust in me on the track because we have confidence in each other off the track.   “I think our success of late is down to the fact that we have been through so much together.”  He added: “There’s been so much buzz, the realisation you are going to be racing in front of your home crowd, family and friends in London.

“I’d planned to take a group of children and teachers from school to the Games anyway, before I knew I was competing myself.  “Now I’ll be running in front of them.  I think I’ll be more nervous doing that than anything else.”
The primary school teacher has become a huge supporter of the Paralympic Games, driven by his admiration for athletes like Tracey.  “The fact that these people live a full life with a disability should be enough of a natural inspiration to anyone,” he said.  “Most of these athletes will have faced all manner of obstacles before even leaving the house.  In the morning Tracey has to co-ordinate what she wears each day, makes a cup of tea without spilling it, she collects the post, puts the bins out, without her sight these are not simple tasks.  From my experience these disabled athletes are stronger as people, both physically and mentally, and by competing they show incredible bravery and determination.
They are an inspiration to everyone.”

Tracey lost her eyesight from cancer of the retina when she was two years old and had her eyes removed at the age of four to stop the disease spreading.  While attending a blind school in Bridgend and a college in Birmingham she became interested in athletics and competed in her first Olympic Games at Barcelona at the age of 21.  At the age of 42 London will be her sixth Olympic Games, making her the most experienced female athlete in the history of the Paralympic Games.  And Steffan says that feat might not have been possible without the help of his school.  “I really have to thank them for all they have done for the two of us,” he said.  “Without their cooperation this really would not have worked.  “They have released me for competitions and supported my running.  They have given me their full backing and Tracey and I are eternally grateful.”  He added: “We finished fourth in finals in Athens and Beijing and so hopefully now we can put that right in London and bring home a medal.”Ihar Boki of Belarus celebrates winning goldRead More

No comments:

Post a Comment