Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Brown aims for Commonwealth Games dream

Sally Brown

Paralympic athlete Sally Brown has revealed her intention to try and make the Northern Ireland team for the Commonwealth Games.

After experiencing London 2012, the 17-year-old from Ballykelly says she would love to be involved at Glasgow 2014.

The 100m and 200m sprinter feels her best chance of achieving that dream would be as part of the 4x400m relay squad which is likely to include Joanna Mills, controversially not selected for the Ireland team for the Olympics, and Katie Kirk, one of several youngsters who lit the flame during a memorable opening ceremony for the Games.

Teenager Brown finished sixth in the T46 final at the Paralympics after, by her own admission, being disappointed not to qualify for the 200m final.

Troubled by injury and illness before the Paralympics, Brown was not at her best in London but is eager to return to the form which saw her claim bronze for the 200m at last year's International Paralympic World Championships in New Zealand.

The crossover between competing at the Paralympics and major events such as the Commonwealth Games is rare, but the youngster fancies giving it her best shot.

“The only way I think I could compete is to start doing the 400m and maybe make the relay team for the Commonwealth Games. I'll give it a go and try to qualify because it would be an amazing thing to do,” said Sally, who was born with a condition which prevented her left arm from developing fully.

“The girls in that category are all very strong and I don't know if I will get selected but it's worth a try. The Games are in Glasgow and there would be plenty of Northern Ireland support there which would be really exciting.”

Brown, who is a Team Samsung ambassador, had incredible support in London with over 30 family members, including her mum, dad, sister, granny and aunties, cheering her on, as well as 80,000 fans in the Olympic stadium.

She said: “It is mad racing in front of 80,000 people. It's so noisy and is just a mass of colours – you don't really see the people in front of you.

“After my disappointment at not reaching the 200m final, I couldn't wait to get out and race all over again in front of all those people in the 100m. I felt a lot stronger and more ready for the 100m. My aim was to get into a Paralympic final so I achieved that goal.

“The next time the Paralympics come around in Rio I'll be 21. I'll be running my fastest and I'd love to aim for a medal. Hopefully I'll go there as a contender.”

Sally may be joined in Brazil by fellow Ulster athletes Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop, who won two gold medals each for Ireland on the track.

“Jason and Michael were amazing. They had a lot of pressure on them to perform, break world records and come home with gold, so they coped really well. I actually saw one of Michael McKillop's finals and he looked so happy when he won. I felt so proud of him because he's from the same place as me even though he was on a different team.”

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