Great Britain’s double world silver medallist Maria Lyle competes in the 100m and 200m T35 – she was also a key member of the GB &NI 4 x 100m T35-38 relay squad that won world gold at Doha 2015.
The 16-year-old only made her international debut at the IPC Athletics European Championships in 2014 – winning double sprint gold despite a nervous moment at the start of her first race. Here she tells us what she learned from that event as she looks to step on to an even bigger stage at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
My best moment
I think my best moment so far was winning gold with the relay girls in Doha, because it was quite unexpected and it was nice to win something with your team. It was a change too, we’d not run together before, so it was quite nice how it all worked out – plus we got the world record.
We had quite a lot of pressure on us because we were all expected to do well, so we were like ‘Well listen, our objective is just to try and get the baton around,’ so I think we were quite good in that respect.
Afterwards we were really happy that we not only had not dropped the baton but won the race too - everyone was very happy with the result. We have a good squad of girls, it’s quite competitive to get into; hopefully for the Paralympics we have got a good shot too.
My worst moment
A worst moment for me was probably stumbling at the blocks in the 100m at the Europeans. It was my first major championships and I actually thought I got disqualified and I was like ‘Oh no, I’ve blown it.’
Balance is something I struggle with due to my cerebral palsy (CP). It was good I did it at the Europeans though because I know I can deal with the pressure and stress of thinking I’d mucked it up at that level. Fortunately it was just a faulty start so I was able to race, and I told myself ‘Just hold it, don’t wobble.’
It was definitely a good learning experience too – hopefully I won’t do it again but I think looking back I know I struggle with balance with my CP, but there are ways I think I can improve too. We are working hard on my balance at the gym and with my coach to improve my start. There are lots of things I can learn from it that will hopefully help me in the future.
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs).
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.