During my first year, I was selected to represent Team GB at the 2012 Paralympics
JENNY MCLOUGHLIN (Philosophy 2011-) – BRITISH PARALYMPIAN TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETE
My athletics career began in 2006, when I joined Cwmbran Harriers at the age of 14. I had always enjoyed running but this was my first experience of formal coaching and competitions. Shortly after, I was scouted by Disability Sport Wales and asked to join their Athletics Academy.
I soon found myself competing against international athletes both in the UK and overseas, and was selected to join the UK Athletics High Performance Programme in 2007. My performance improved dramatically under a new training regime – just two years after taking up running, I found myself on a plane to Beijing to compete at my first Paralympics.
From there, I went on to represent Wales at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi – I was delighted to come away with a 100m silver medal.
In September 2011, I commenced my Philosophy course at Cardiff University. Combining a degree with an athletics career was difficult but the University was hugely supportive.
To compete at a home Olympics and be part of London 2012 was an unforgettable experience. In front of capacity crowds, I made the finals of the 100m and 200m and won a bronze medal in the 4x100m relay.
I am currently training hard in order to achieve selection for the Rio 2016 Paralympics in September. My current routine consists of track sessions and twice-weekly strength and conditioning sessions. I follow a strict diet that has been tailored to ensure my nutritional intake supports my physical schedule.
I am hugely fortunate to be able to do what I do – competing at the highest level in Paralympic sport.
Photography by Paul Hindmarsh