At just 16 years old paralympic athlete Sally Brown is already no stranger to success. The Northern Irish teenager made her international breakthrough in January last year; snatching 200m bronze at the International Paralympic Committee World Athletics Championships in New Zealand.
Months later she cemented her triumph with another 100m bronze, plus 200m silver at the 2011 BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester.
Sally was born with a condition which prevented her left arm from developing fully, which places her in the T46 classification.
She reveals her running idols, guilty pleasures and where she finds the grit to take on more experienced athletes…
I didn’t expect to take bronze at the Paralympic World Games last year. I was only 15, I just went to New Zealand for the experience. Coming home with a medal was pretty cool.
Since then my life has changed dramatically. Training is much more tough and I have to focus on running more. There’s also a lot more press attention.
My aim is to get bronze at the Paralympics. I’m training with my focus on a medal but it all depends on what happens on the day.
Winning the gold medal would be a dream come true.
I don’t get too nervous competing against older athletes. Although they might be physically more developed, I just remember that I’ve put in the same amount of effort to get there. I focus on my own race and try not to worry about what they’re doing.
At the moment I’m training six days a week. I run three times a week on the track and do strength and conditioning work.
My favourite sessions are one-minute reps with one-minute recoveries. The toughest session is definitely strength and conditioning work.
I still go to school where I’m doing an AS-level in Sports Studies. It’s a bit hectic heading straight after school to train, but you get used to it. My friends think I’m mad training six days a week.
The biggest sacrifice for my sport is my social life. I can’t go out on a Saturday night with friends because I’m usually training. And I’ve had to sacrifice eating nice foods like chocolate.
My post-race reward is to go to the Chinese or to the chippy. Once a week I normally have some chocolate too - I probably shouldn’t admit that...
Jessica Ennis and Perri Shakes-Drayton inspire me. I met Perri recently and I was really starstruck, she’s my idol.
I started running when I was about 10 and knew I wanted to be a professional runner almost immediately.
What would I be if I wasn’t a runner? Perhaps I’d work in the police. I’ve never really considered it.
My racing tip is to focus and stick at it. As long as you’re enjoying it, keep going and put the training in.
I should reach my peak at the 2016 Paralympic Games. My long-term goal is to follow in Oscar Pistorius’s footsteps and to cross over to mainstream running.
Until two years ago I always competed in mainstream events, then it switched to the paralympic events. I want to prove that although I’m disabled, I can run as well as people who aren’t.
Coach: Philip Tweedy
Club: Springwell Club
2011- IPC World Athletics Championship, T46 200m: bronze
IWAS World Junior Athletics Championships, T46 100m: silver, T46 200m: gold
BT Paralympic World Cup, T46 100m: bronze, T46 200m: silver
Antrim Forum (June)
Sally Brown is part of Team Samsung, a selection of top British athletes who will be opening up their lives and training regimes to the public through Samsung’s Digital Hub in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Samsung is giving the British public the chance to take part and virtually experience every moment between now and July with its team of athletes. To take part and view exclusive videos and interviews with Team Samsung go to www.samsung.com/uk/london2012