"To compete at a Paralympic Games is the pinnacle of my Boccia career, and it being a home games will add to the excitement I will feel when we start competing on 2 September."
April 10th was the day I finally heard I had made the British Boccia squad for London 2012.
We were all aware that we would hear the news via email at 10:00 a.m., with emotions of happiness for some and disappointment for those not selected. The date was a poignant one for me, as it would have been my dad’s birthday.
Sadly he passed away over four years ago now, and I know he would have been excited to hear the news that I had been selected for a home Paralympic Games.
Shortly after 10:00 a.m., I started to receive texts from teammates to share their news of selection and ask if I was in or out. I can honestly say that my thoughts had been elsewhere that morning and it was only after receiving many texts that I dared to check my emails.
The email read: “I can confirm that you have been selected to compete both individually and as part of the Paralympics GB Boccia team at the London 2012 Games.”
It took a couple of readings of the letter for it to sink in regarding my selection. Although I always thought I had done enough to earn my selection, it was still a fantastic moment to have it confirmed, in what would be my fourth Paralympics and final one as an athlete.
My selection made me feel very proud of my achievements and what a great honour it is to represent my country in a sport I have been proud to say I compete in.
Boccia is seen by many as a minority sport, but anyone who has seen or played it immediately connects with it. I know the dedication and sacrifices which myself and fellow Boccia athletes have made to compete at the highest level, and I believe our sport embodies everything that is great about the Paralympic Games.
The years since Beijing have been tough – training competition and the commitment required to be an elite athlete and gain selection for London 2012 has been long and hard. I have had my ups and downs since success in Beijing; illness in particular affected both my training and ability to compete at the British Championships last year, which was probably the lowest point of my 14-year playing career.
However, I am now feeling 100 per cent and looking forward to the coming months of hard training.
To compete at a Paralympic Games is the pinnacle of my Boccia career, and it being a home games will add to the excitement I will feel when we start competing on 2 September.
It has always been my dream to win the double at a Paralympic games, both individual and team gold medals. I got so close in Beijing, but London would be no finer place to achieve that dream in front of family, friends and the British public.
I know it’s going to be tough, but I know myself and my teammates are prepared for the battle ahead.