England World Games athletics vest for Grace (13)
ISLAND junior Grace Greenwood is celebrating international recognition after being selected to represent Team England at the 2018 CP World Games.
Just 18 months after signing up for regular training with Jersey Spartan AC, the 13-year-old has received her first global call-up for the event in Spain – a competition attended in the past by Britain’s Paralympic champion Kadena Cox.
Greenwood claimed an age-group sprint double at the British Cerebral Palsy Sport National Championships in September – winning both the T35 100m and 200m in Nottingham in times that were well inside the qualification standards for Sant Cugat. However, she had run even quicker earlier in the summer, with her personal bests of 19.05s [100m] and 43.42s [200m] enough to earn two UK top five rankings, at senior level.
‘It’s an amazing feeling to be representing England at my age,’ said Greenwood, who also enjoys wall-climbing and is a member of Jersey Frame Football – a club run by her father, Paul.
‘I never dreamed of going there [Sant Cugat, Barcelona], but through sport you get to go to places you wouldn’t normally go.
‘I’m just going to try my best – try and get a personal best and maybe a medal if possible. I’m getting better and I feel like I’ll run some good PBs. I want to get under 19 seconds – I think that’s achievable.’
Discussing the role athletics plays in her day-to-day life, Greenwood added: ‘I like running. It makes me feel free, away from my splints and my disability.
‘I’d love to encourage other people to come along, to get more people like me down there. I believe there are a good few people like me, or with worse disabilities who would like to do running but don’t feel they can. I would like to get them down to have a go.’
The Beaulieu student trains as part of a group of JSAC juniors under the guidance of coach Karen Le Mottée, and with words of support also coming from Paralympic coach Mike Utting there are hopes that the 2018 World Games will be just the start.
‘The Paralympics is definitely the plan, if possible,’ she added. ‘I would be nice to go to Paris [2024 hosts] ... I can’t speak French though.’
Under World Para Athletics regulations, the T35 classification is one of four categories for athletes with co-ordination impairments. Greenwood is currently fourth in the national T35 100m standings and fifth in the 200m. Rio 2016 Paralympic medallist Maria Lyle leads the way in both events.
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