As the countdown continues and games get closer, here is a round up of six Sussex athletes taking to the Olympic stage:
Name: Gemma Spofforth
Story: Born in Shoreham-by-Sea Gemma swimming at Littlehampton Sports Centre. She currently holds the world record in the 100m backstroke and won three silver medals at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. In the Beijing Games she finished fourth in the 100m and ninth in the 200m backstroke, which she plans to improve on in 2012.
Name: Saskia Clark (right)
Story: Having studied sport science at the University of Chichester, and lived in Bognor Regis, Saskia has happy memories of Sussex.
Her relationship with sailing began as a family activity, so as a result she wasn’t very keen to give it a go on her own. But she needn’t of worried and her silver medal at the World Championships and sixth place finish at the Beijing Olympics are both proof of her talent on the water.
Name: Ben Quilter,
Sport: Visually Impaired Judo
Story: When he isn’t in the ring Ben is studying for a masters degree in sport and exercise physiology at the University of Chichester. He started Judo at seven years of age and soon started winning competitions. Having secured gold medals at the World Judo Championships in 2010 and the 2011 German Paralympic Open he is hoping to add to his collection this year.
Name: Simon Munn
Sport: Wheelchair Basketball
Story: Having racked up a total of five Paralympic Games appearances and won countless medals Simon is considered a veteran of the sport. When an accident saw Simon’s leg severed by a train he was determined to continue in sport and was attracted to wheelchair basketball as he was told it was the most aggressive and competitive.
Just months after deciding to give it a go he was selected to represent Britain. In him spare time he spends his time playing golf, fishing and with his family in Peacehaven.
Sport: Paralympic Table Tennis
Story: Originally from Groombridge, Will was born with anthrogryposis, a congenital disorder that affects all of his limbs. He began playing table tennis at seven years old while recovering from cancer and is now ranked number two in the world. He joined the Byng Hall Table Tennis Club before playing in Kent’s men’s team of able-bodied players and was selected to represent Britain in Beijing 2008.
Name: Ashleigh Ball (right)
Story: Brighton-born women’s hockey midfielder is understandably proud and relieved to the named as part of the Great Britain Olympic squad.
It is a position which has been well deserved as Ashleigh has proved herself by being a key part in the English team which won the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy bronze medals in 2010. And she is sure to use her experience having earnt 37 caps for England and 5 caps for Great Britain to good use this summer.
~ First published in the July issue of etc Magazine ~