Ballykelly’s 17 year-old sprinting sensation, Sally Brown, is looking ahead to next year’s World Championships after finishing sixth in Wednesday’s Paralympic women’s T46 100m final.
After recovering from a bladder infection, which affected her form in last weeks 200m qualifying, Brown had set herself the aim of running a personal best in the final. However, she was disappointed after clocking a time of 13.74 seconds in the Olympic Stadium, quite away off her season best of 13.40 seconds.
Now she remains focused on improving her performance ahead of next years World Championships.
Speaking after the final, her father and spokesperson, Richard Brown, said: “She is obviously disappointed with her time and with not getting herself in the mix for the medals. She was running very well on the warm up track before the event but the occasion was very overpowering and she looked tense and quite stressed as she lined up in the stadium.
“She remains pragmatic and is looking to analyse her performance and see what went wrong so she can build on this ahead of the World Championships next year.
“The whole family is extremely proud of her, the fact that she was selected was a fantastic achievement as she had been out for almost a year after suffering a double stress fracture in the foot and only started competing again in May, so to go on to reach a final is an incredible achievement.”
Brown’s success in the 100m was a big lift for her after her disappointment in the 200m where she had high hopes after collecting bronze at last year’s IPC Athletics World Championships but missed out on the final by 0.3 seconds after finishing 9th fastest in the two heats. Despite her failure to qualify, Brown did manage to match her season-best time of 27.78 seconds.
Her dad explained: “Going into the 200m, Sally was suffering from dehydration which turned out to be the result of an undiagnosed bladder infection. Following the event she received 48 hours of treatment and felt sharp going into the 100m events, however the occasion was just too much for her on the day.”
Sally’s successful participation in the event will be great for Northern Ireland athletics and it’s hoped that she’ll inspire many young athletes, especially those with disabilities, to get involved with athletics.
Kenny Bacon of Springwell Running Club, where Brown has trained from the age of nine said: “Her participation in the Games is great for Springwell Running Club as it will help further boost the club’s reputation and encourage more people to get involved in the club. By coming back with stories of the Games it will help motivate everyone within the club.”