Aim High (Quick Reads) by Tanni Thompson

By Tanni Thompson

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I knew from 400 metres from the finish that I was going to come nowhere. I had come to the Games a champion, and this was my worst position in a Paralympics race, probably my worst 800 metres ever, and the event was shown live on national TV. I felt that I had let a large number of people down – the people who had come to watch me race, my family, my team, and also myself. I remember going to the side of the track, and I just started crying. By the time I got to where Ian was standing I could see he was visibly upset too – most unusual for him.

However, I won, and after that – though there was a lot of pressure – the 200 metres went OK. For the final of the 400 metres, I knew I had a chance of doing really well, but also knew that I had to push a really smart race. The night before the final we got the lane allocations and I found that I had drawn lane seven. I was number one in the world, was the world record holder and hadn’t been beaten that season over 400 metres, but I was used to racing this distance in middle lanes. I would be unable to see where any of my fellow competitors were until the last 90 metres.

I got on to Francesca’s shoulder at the 50 metres mark and by the 100 metres mark I knew that I was past her. I don’t remember much else about the race. With 20 metres to go I could feel Madeline coming up behind me, and my only thoughts were about keeping my technique right, and finishing. I didn’t have the energy to do a lap of honour, and in any case the crowds were quiet, because it was early on a Sunday morning. Going over to be interviewed, I was asked by Clare how it felt to be Britain’s most successful 46 AIM HIGH Paralympian.

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