Hope Gordon at Inverness Aquadome. Sandy McCook
Sutherland teenager Hope sets paralympic target after medals haul in Swansea
BY DAVE EDWARDS
A SUTHERLAND teenager is aiming to make the Great Britain squad for next year’s Paralympic Games in London.
Hope Gordon, from Rogart, returned from an event in Swansea with gold medals in four events – the 100m backstroke, 100m freestyle, 50m freestyle and 200m individual medley – and a silver in the 100m breaststroke.
The Dornoch Academy pupil suffers from reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), which means she has no use of her legs, so the power she generates in the pool comes only from her shoulders and arms.
Hope, 16, said: “I feel a lot more at home in the pool than I do out of it when I have to use my crutches. I really enjoy my swimming. I would love to go to the games in London next year. It will take a lot of hard work but that doesn’t frighten me. I will do my best but 2012 may come too soon for me, so, perhaps, the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow would be more realistic.
“I use weights to build up my shoulders but they sometimes get really sore as I have to use my crutches all the time. Sometimes stretching is a better exercise.”
Her mum, Rhona, said: “Hope’s condition has got a lot worse since it was first diagnosed only two-and-a-half years ago. They reckon she has had it on and off since she was a little girl but it manifested itself in this form about three years ago. She now gets about quite well on crutches or in a wheelchair. She has no use of her body from the waist down. All her power comes from her shoulders and she does strength and conditioning. Hope is very determined and has just set a British record in the 800m freestyle in her home pool in Inverness, taking 50 seconds off the previous time and leaving her only 28 seconds off the world record.
“She is swimming in Manchester next month trying to achieve European qualifying times. If she can qualify for the Europeans then there is a possibility she could qualify for London 2012.”
Click here for the original article online.