To celebrate the successes of disabled and non-disabled athletes at the Commonwealth Games, this edition of Easy News features an interview with Winter Paralympic skier, Anna Turney. 

Our Easy News journalists asked Anna about her experiences and it how it feels to compete in international competitions.  You can read the interview, along with other stories in this edition of Easy News.  Below, Anna blogs for us about her life as an athlete competing at an international level.

“I first started skiing when I was 8 years old, as an able-bodied child.  I took up snowboarding at 16 and broke my back while racing in Japan.  While I was recovering in hospital, I was told that it’s possible for disabled people to ski so I made that my aim.  I really wanted to get back on the snow after being paralysed.  My friends and family have never treated me any differently for being paralysed, but sometimes people I don’t know so well or strangers treat me differently.  I think there can be some awkwardness around disability, but I find that mostly I see the kind side of people as result of my disability.

 

I started competing for Team GB at the Winter Paralympics in Vancouver in 2010, where I was the least experienced competitor in our team.  It is very exciting to represent Great Britain and an absolute honour to have been selected to compete in three World Championships and two Paralympic Games.  I am proud to wear GB kit and enjoy sharing this privilege with children when I speak at schools and events.

 

Preparing to compete is more than a full-time job.  Everything I do, from what I eat to how I train, to what I think about when I get up in the morning is planning around achieving my best possible performance in competition.  I’m not a funded athlete so I have to balance work alongside training and competing and have been very lucky in the support I’ve received from my sponsors, including the Warwick Rotary Club.  I don’t think I could have achieved what I have without the ongoing support of my sponsors.  I wouldn’t have been able to compete without them.

 

I think it’s really important to have dreams and ambitions, but achieving them is rarely easy!  It takes an enormous amount of hard work, focus, dedication and often support from other people.  In my experience it helps to have a plan b as things very rarely go to plan!  I’ve also learned that it’s important to stay positive and not to be afraid to ask for help and support along the way.

 

For me, one of the best things about the Sochi 2014 Paralympics was the TV coverage we got – we were the first Paralympians to have the chance to show the world what we can do despite our difficulties.  To be able to see disabled people racing on the same runs as the able-bodied Olympic athletes, at over 70 mph has been eye-opening for many people, I think.”


To find out more about Anna and her sporting successes, please visit www.annaturney.com

To download the latest edition, head to the Easy News webpage.