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Sprinter Bethany Woodward wins second Paralympics medal
DORSET’S Bethany Woodward is today celebrating Paralympic glory.
The West Moors teenager took the silver medal in the women’s T37 200 metres at a packed Olympic stadium.
Her medal took the British team’s total on the athletics track to 18.
The 19-year-old, known as Bethy, edged ahead of Germany’s Maria Seifert to finish in 29.65 seconds. Namibia’s Johanna Benson took gold.
Bethy said afterwards: “It’s just an incredible feeling, a bit surreal as well after all the waiting for London 2012 to happen. I can’t believe it’s over now and I’ve got two medals.
“I felt like I did everything right. My legs were pretty sore after three races in 24 hours but I wasn’t going to let that affect my performance as there was only one more chance to get out there and perform in front of these fans.
“I’ve been running on adrenaline but I will probably wake up in the morning and feel pretty bad.
“I didn’t want to finish this race without a medal. I’ve had a mixed year but getting a bronze and silver is just incredible, it’s the stuff of dreams really.”
She described running with cerebral palsy as like breaking through a brick wall.
“It’s really difficult. Your body is doing one thing and your brain is trying to tell it do another,” she said.
“It’s like a brick wall you have to break through to get it done.”
In the heats for the event, Bethy had stormed to a 29.50 second European record.
The night before the 200 metres, she helped the women’s T35-58 women’s sprint relay team take bronze in the Paralympics.
Bethy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 12 months old and having problems crawling.
As a child she lived at Ringwood ’s Sheiling centre, a Camphill Community offering support to young people with learning disabilities and other special needs.
She went to the Rudolf Steiner School next to the community home.
The family later moved to St Albans, where Bethy developed a love of athletics after taking part in a school sports day at the age of 11. She competed in the UK School games in 2007 and 2009.
At 18, she won gold in the T37 400m at the 2011 World Championships in New Zealand.
The family moved back to Sturts Farm, at West Moors, in 2008.
After last night’s triumph, Bethy took a lap of honour around the Olympic Stadium, stopping to share a kiss with boyfriend and javelin thrower Lee Doran, who just missed out on the Olympic team.
“My family and friends are all in tears and it was a bit of an emotional mess,” she said.
She received her Olympic medal at the stadium last night.
“This is just the start for me, I’m only 19 and I’ve, hopefully, got a lot more Paralympics to come,” said Bethy.
“Right now I’m looking forward to a holiday in the Caribbean in the next couple of weeks and eating what I like for a while.
“I won’t compete again until next year and the World Championships in Lyon is the big target.”
- Lloyds TSB, proud supporter of ParalympicsGB and proud partner of the London 2012 Para-lympic Games. Get closer to the Games at lloydstsb.com/ london2012