Derry runner Sally Brown takes second in 400m final
Six years, countless injuries and a heap of heartbreak later, Sally Brown is finally back where she belongs.
Not since London 2012 had the Northern Ireland athlete competed on the big stage but as she lined up for her World Para Athletics European Championship opener on Wednesday, suddenly all was right with the world.
Just getting to Berlin has proved a battle for Brown, at times fearing a return to her best would not be forthcoming.
Her T47 400m race wasn’t a medal event due to lack of competitors but that only proved a side issue for the 23-year-old, the feeling in her legs worth the weight in gold.
“That was good. I was nervous but once I got out there I thought ‘this is where I’m meant to be’ and I enjoyed it,” she said.
“Six years of hard work has been worth every minute. There have been some times when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to go on the track and do 400m but the fact I ran so well makes me thrilled.
“Over six years I kept remembering what it was like to step out at London 2012 and that kept me going. I knew I wanted to feel that atmosphere and this was one of the stepping stones towards that.
“Just to be able to go out there and run without any injury means so much to me, not to feel any doubts or niggles isn’t something I’m really used to.”
The taste of action in the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark has understandably got Brown calling for more.
The rest of her week in Berlin will certainly oblige with the T47 100m and 200m to come on Friday and Saturday – both events in which she could win a medal.
Not that stepping on the podium will be her one and only focus, pleased that the pressure is off having safely got around the European track once again.
“I’ve got the 100m and the 200m left to do so I’ve got the hard one out of the way,” added Brown, who was born with dysmelia in her lower arms which resulted in her left arm not fully developing.
“I’m going in now knowing what to expect and I’ve got the nerves out of the way.
“I won’t be as nervous for the next two because a lot of times with the 400m I don’t know how much it’s going to hurt – but I don’t have that with the 200m.”
British Athletics works alongside UK Sport and the National Lottery to support the delivery of success at the world’s most significant sporting events, principally the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They do this via the funded initiative, the World Class Programme, one part of the British Athletics pathway.
Belfast Telegraph Digital