The Paralympic Games comes around every four years and is undoubtedly the pinnacle of our sport. Despite wheelchair tennis having its own world tour and being integrated into all four major tennis grand slams, those elusive Paralympic medals are inevitably what we are all working towards as Paralympic athletes.
Ever since the closing ceremony at London 2012, focus moved to Rio and what preparation would look like in advance of the next Paralympic games. How can you go one step further? How can you better yourself? How can you continue to evolve and ensure that you’re in the best possible shape to compete with the world’s best?
In particular over the last 12 months I have been identifying where my margins are and how can I perfect my style of tennis to compete with the other top girls. This for me is perhaps more difficult as a T4 Paraplegic with no feeling or muscle activation from the chest down. Many of the other top girls still have core function and balance and are able to lean and make smaller adjustments to the timing and execution of their shots.
I have to compensate through hard work, to ensure that I am fitter and faster and able to react and anticipate to get myself in the right place to make the right shot. I take enormous pride in the fact that I have worked hard to be able to compete with the best and feel very proud of what I have achieved so far in my career. Alongside Jordanne Whiley, I made history at the London 2012 Paralympic Games winning Great Britain’s first ever women’s wheelchair medal and we have a very realistic opportunity of going for Gold in Rio.
I am now working to ensure that I do everything that I can do to realise this dream and I am currently raising funds to help with my Rio preparations through a Pledge Sports Crowd Funding campaign. All support no matter how big or small is very much appreciated and is used to supplement my training and contribute towards my travel and competition costs.
Please take a look at and support my campaign – https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/wheelchair-tennis-sponsorship-lucy-shuker/