Tuesday, 13 March 2012

'Talking The Talk'.

Last week was a really busy one for me in my other role as a public speaker. It kicked off on Wednesday when I had to get up at the unearthly hour of 5am so I could travel to Bishop's Stortford High School to speak at a London 2012 Breakfast Seminar organised by 'Hertfordshire Is Ready For Winners'. It was a very well attended event with lots of local businesses represented to discuss the question,'What can the Olympics do for my business'? I spoke about my experience of sport and was well received. I met a lot of very interesting people. Afterwards I spoke to the students of the school about setting goals, having dreams and being the best we can. I really enjoyed the session and was delighted at the challenging questions the students asked me at the end. It all made for a great start to the day, which I ended with a gruelling 10 mile push along the cycle tracks of Harlow followed quickly by a relaxing bath.

On Friday it was off to Leisurezone in Harlow for an Olympic/Paralympic Presentation organised by Harlow MP Robert Halfon in conjunction with Essex Legacy 2012. There were a lot of guest speakers, including myself and Noel Thatcher MBE to represent the Paralympic viewpoint. This is a very important year and wouldn't it be great if public attitudes towards disability was changed and the excellence of Paralympic sport celebrated and enshrined from the very outset that the two games are equally valued. The motto may well be,'Faster!Higher!Stronger! It was a good occasion and it was really nice to hear so many positive views about what we can expect. I only hope the people in power can live up to their fine words. Again, I finished the day with a hard training session concentrating on my speed work then home to another relaxing bath to ease my aching muscles.

On Saturday I went out for a long push then came home and really enjoyed watching the IAAF Indoor Championships on TV. I was really inspired by Yamile Aldama, 39, winning Gold in the Triple Jump, and it was great to see Harlow man, Andrew Osagie winning Bronze in the 800m. I remember training with him when I was first starting out as a wheelchair racer on the old Harlow track. I was also delighted at the successes of Dwayne Chambers and Christine Ohuruoga. All in all it just goes to show how exciting athletics is and I can't wait for the Games to begin.

It was back to public speaking again on Sunday when I was a guest at a dinner organised by Integration Support Services to celebrate International Women's Day. The dinner was raising funds for this fantastic group who help refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to integrate into the community(www.iss.org.uk ). It was great to see women from all backgrounds let their hair down and boogie to all the tunes. It was a humbling experience to speak to these amazing and beautiful women. I didn't know what to say to them so I based my talk on women taking control of their own lives. I am a woman who has been set free from restrictions but it is only relatively recently that I have come to realise that gender equality is only the first step. If we are to succeed as women we have to stop seeing other successful women as a threat - we have to network, plot and co-operate better than men. 'Take no heroes, only inspiration.'

Finally,training has been going well but yesterday I had to 'limp' home after a road session because my tyre got punctured. Not to worry because I had to back the chair up and send it to its makers, Bromakin, for a much needed service. Until I get it back I'll be sweating in the gym

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