I have been wanting to write my first blog for a while now and I thought there’s no better time than one month post Rio selection.
It often gets spoke about the hard work, commitment, dedication and sacrifices the Olympians/Paralympians get, and rightly deserved. However, the athletes who have committed their whole lives to the sport, yet just miss out on selection, never seem to get a mention. I’m sure my thoughts are echoed by thousands of athletes around the world.
I’d like to share some of my experiences with you, about quitting university& moving 2 hours away from home to train full time, seeing family twice in 6 months, and the harsh sacrifices that go with this such as a strict diet, sleeping pattern, resting routine, &the sickening training sessions which leave you on the floor panting for air.
When I revisit the day of selection in my head. I’m sat by my phone all day extremely nervous and apprehensive about what lies ahead. I got a call at 8pm explaining why I wasn’t good enough to make this squad. It felt like all my dreams had all been crushed in a 2 minute phone call. I couldn’t hold back my emotions but this meant so much to me that I probably would have cried more if I made the team. It gives you a hollow feeling inside.
People say to me ‘keep your head up, don’t give up’ or ‘this will make you work even harder for your dreams’. We’re all athletes with competitive mind-sets and want to be the best in the world& it is impossible to work harder than we are already working. We don’t make all these sacrifices and commitments to give up when mental strength is arguably the most important part in sport.
Perhaps the most painful part is seeing your best friends ecstatic they’ve made the team, and you can’t share the moments with them. Instead you must sit and watch it all unfold behind a TV screen.
It leaves you with no option but to look forward, to future World Championships, European Championships, Commonwealth Games& Olympic/Paralympic Games.
I’d like my thoughts& experiences to be welcomed with optimism rather than sympathy.
The Games in Tokyo are only 4 years away. So the cycle will begin again, with the same dreams, the same aspirations, but hopefully not the same outcome.