JULIE ROGERS is only 17-years old and is not only about to compete in her second Paralympic Games but is doing so in a completely different sport from the first time round four years ago in London.
Rogers was just 13-years old when she made her debut with the sitting volleyball team and is now about to head to Rio to compete in the 100m T42 classification race.
Rogers was the youngest participating athlete in 2012 and was 26 years younger than her own teammate Martine Wright.
Speaking of the experience she said: “Obviously being so young at London, it was quite surreal to be surrounded by older professional athletes.”
Born without the tibia and fibula in her right leg, Rogers first discovered sitting volleyball in 2010 but soon moved onto sprinting following spending cuts.
She said: “When I came out of London I tried a few other sports. I tried athletics and I really enjoyed it.”
Rogers’ tender age means she must juggle her training regime with her schoolwork and her school in Bedfordshire has allowed her to train alongside taking her GCSEs.
And Rogers now has her eyes firmly set on success in Rio but knows that she faces some tough opposition.
She stated: “Martina Caironi will be my main rival. She’s the world record holder and the number one in the world. And then there’s Scout Bassett, who has been running for a long time and Lacey Henderson.
“I think that I’ll definitely challenge the top three. My seasons been going well, I’ve been running quick times and I’ve ran personal bests. Provided I execute my race – I could really push for the top.”
And the youngster clearly hasn’t forgotten the importance of teamwork from her time playing sitting volleyball and views those around her now as integral to her success in both the present and the future.
She added: “”I’m really happy that I’ve got a great team around me. I’ve got a really experienced coach, I’ve got experienced teammates. I’ve been able to learn from them as well.
“In five years I’d like to be an owner of a gold medal from the Tokyo Paralympics. I think I’ve got the right team around me to be able to do that. I think I’ve got potential to be winning gold and in five years hopefully I’ll have a world record as well.”
Rogers isn’t short on ambition and on the back of Great Britain’s Olympic success, she may fancy herself to grab the gold medal before she is even old enough to celebrate with a drink in Rio.
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Rio Paralympics: Teenage sensation Julie Rogers gears up for her second Games before she’s even turned 18 have 790 words, post on www.thesun.co.uk at August 24, 2016. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.