PARALYMPIC sprinter Sally Brown admits that while injury hampered success on the track in 2013, kicking her heels has only fuelled her desire to climb the podium at the Commonwealth Games next summer.
The 18-year-old Ballykelly girl, who competes in the T46 classification over 100 and 200 metres, was all set to return to competitive action in April following recovery from a double stress fracture in her foot.
However, Brown, who finished sixth in the 200m final at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, saw her plans scuppered after she had her appendix removed, causing her to miss the entire track season.
Now boasting a clean bill of health and with the chance to compete on the world stage close to home in next year’s showpiece event, Brown is relishing the challenge of finding her best form.
“Before the Paralympics I got a double stress fracture in my foot,” she explained.
“It’s all healed up now but I’ve had a few setbacks the past year.
“It’s been hard and I was planning to have a really good season this year but I ended up having my appendix taken out in April so I wasn’t able to compete.
“So this season has just kind of taken time to get healthy and recover from London and from having an operation, so it’s been a tough two years.
“It’s made me want it more and it’s made me realise when you miss something, you realise how much you want it so it’s made me train harder and work harder.
“For me, getting selected (for Glasgow 2014) is going to be huge because I’m actually going to try and make the 400m relay team as well.
“To get selected is going to be a massive goal. Realistically if I run the way I should run next season, I should be there.”
Brown was named as a Home Nation ambassador recently by energy company SSE who are an official partner of Glasgow 2014.
And the Co. Derry sprinter admits there is something extra special about competing for N. Ireland.
“I’m really excited about it all, it’s pretty much going to be like another home games and that’s really exciting,” added the Springwell Running Club athlete.
“I’m an ambassador for SSE energy and Northern Ireland and it’s great to know that SSE are supporting athletes and it gives me a lot of confidence to know they are willing to give money to our sport.
“It obviously great to represent Great Britain, but it makes it a little bit more special to be able to represent N. Ireland - that is my home and it just makes it really special.”
As a proud partner of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games SSE are encouraging the public to get behind their local athletes, and in doing so winning rewards such as tickets, merchandise and ‘money can’t buy’ experiences during next year’s event. Follow @YourSSE to keep up-to-date with the latest information.