Sally claims bronze in Christchurch

CO. DERRY sprinter, Sally Brown exceeded all expectations when claiming a bronze medal at the International Paralympic Committee World Championships in New Zealand last Sunday.

A remarkable achievement for the talented 15 year-old Ballykelly girl who was making her international senior debut when representing the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team at the prestigious event in Christchurch.

Sally, who competes for the North West-based athletics club, Springwell Club, clocked 26.38 to take bronze in the T46 200 metres.

Born with left arm Dysmelia, a rare birth defect which means her arm didn’t develop below the elbow, the Limavady High School student was delighted with her performance and admitted she had surprised herself when realising she had finished in the medal positions.

“I can’t believe it,” said Sally. “My goal was to get to the final and to P.B. and I did both, but when I came off the bend I thought, “Oh no, I’m going to come last”.

“But I focused on the fact that I’d gone into the final as fourth fastest and that gave me confidence. I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet.”

A nervous Sally had earlier qualified for the final with another PB of 26.41 seconds in her heat but she smashed that time when finishing closely behind winner Castillo Yunidis of Cuba who set a new record of 24.86 seconds.

The World Championship was the final qualifying event ahead of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London and her performance leaves her with an excellent opportunity to be part of the Great Britain and N.Ireland team next year.