To celebrate the World Para Athletics Championships we spoke with a few of the athletes aiming to light up London 2017.
Stef Reid goes in the T44 long jump, returning to the stadium where she won Paralympic silver in 2012.
“I think in sport and in life the mindset with which you go into something is going to be a very signiﬁcant determinate of the outcome. I’ve been competing for a long time now. When I get into something now the question I typically ask myself is ‘What is the most courageous thing I can do in this situation?’
I think it’s really bad to go into anything thinking in terms of either failure or success or winning and losing. Every single thing is an opportunity and a chance to show who you are and I kind of always wanted to be someone who is strong and courageous and that can look like a variety of different things, in different situations.
When I go out to compete, you know, sometimes, I don’t even know where I am in the competition, because it doesn’t matter; I’ve gone in there to do my best regardless of what anyone else is doing that day.”
Do you have a go to ‘wonder food’ that you’d recommend?
“I’ve always said to anybody with a disability, that you kind of end up having to be an athlete. I’ve said it to people who have become amputees. The reality is it’s an incredible physical feat just to learn to rebalance and learn how to walk. Whether they like it or not, they end up becoming athletes because you just simply can’t move with an artiﬁcial leg unless you run.
One thing I do swear by though is ‘Cake Tuesday’: you don’t mess with those! It’s usually before my training session on a Tuesday. There’s a café that I always go to and I always have my carrot cake and my latte. It just makes me really happy.
I’m a big believer that if you don’t enjoy what you eat, you are probably doing it wrong. Saying that, I am someone who genuinely loves salad but you know what, I really enjoy carrot cake; that balances”
Hannah Cockroft is a Paralympic hero with five gold medals to her name. Watch her in the 100m T34 wheelchair race.
“For me it’s always been that I get very soaked up in what everyone else is doing. All I (really) know about is what I’m doing and what I can do better. I try to settle my mind and stop trying to chase. I just sit back and focus on myself; that’s all that matters. I can’t control anyone else’s attempt, I can’t control their race. But I can control my race and that’s what is important
What’s you’re secret ‘wonder food’? I know you’re fond of strawberry laces – but that doesn’t count.
“Oh, what?! I think, aside from the strawberry laces, it depends on when my race is, so my best for a morning race will always be to have eggs on toast: a good source of protein, carbs, it keeps you full for a long time: perfect. If I race later on then spaghetti bolognese is my favourite, so always a go to.”
About the Championships… How do you feel about the close scheduling with the IAAF event?
“I just think it’s fantastic, it’s massively important, obviously, history-making. London is changing history again! It’s showing that parasport’s on an equal playing ﬁeld with able bodied sport. Nobody has ever done this, we’re always kind of the aftershow. So the fact that they’re changing it and putting us out there ﬁrst just shows that we’re passionate about it. London understands what it’s about.”
Aled Davies is the current Paralympic F42 Shotput Champion
“I go to these championships to execute a process, I don’t think about winning, I don’t think about medals or positions, I think about going there and giving the best performance I’ve got. I know I’ve worked harder than anyone else and I deserve to be on the award stage. I see it as my opportunity to show the World what I can do.
Remember why you are doing it. I do it because I love it. It’s my passion and I love throwing. One thing I always say to children is don’t let a loss go to your heart, or into your head.”
What’s your best tip for people interested in nutrition?
“I’m an 18-stone shotputter and I can eat about 5,000 calories a day. I think it’s important to prioritise breakfast: it’s the most important meal of the day. Four meals a day and having a healthy balance of protein, greens and fruits. Make sure that you’re getting all the food groups, you’re getting lots of colours. If you eat good you feel good, it doesn’t matter about exercise, you will get the results that you want.”