RINGWOOD’S Bethany Woodward is welcoming the chance to move out of her “comfort zone” going into this year’s Commonwealth Games.
The 21-year-old scooped silver and bronze medals at London 2012 Olympics in the T37 200m and 4x100m relay respectively.
But she has been selected to compete in the F37/F38 long jump event in Glasgow.
“The long jump is a very new event to me – I’ve only been doing it this year,” Woodward remarked.
“It’s gone quite well so far – it’s really nice to be able to have the opportunity to do something completely different to what I would naturally gravitate towards.
“It is out of my comfort zone, but at the same moment it’s great to be able to do something different.
“Not a lot of athletes get to go and do something completely different to what they normally do and so I’m really happy in that fact.
“I feel very lucky, actually, to be able to have an event in the Commonwealth Games because not all of the Paralympic events are there.”Woodward has previous Commonwealth Games experience, having taken part in the last event in Delhi four years ago.
“The first Commonwealth Games was my first major event ever, and it was a complete learning curve in terms of a multi-sport event, or even a high-profile event,” she recalled.
“So this time I feel a lot more comfortable ...
it being my s e c o n d Games, it's a great advantage for me.”
G l a s g ow will have the biggest Parasport programme in the history of the Games with 22 medal events in total.
That, according to Woodward, illustrates the sea change in attitudes towards Paralympic sport.
“It says a lot. London 2012 was a massive driving force for that and before then, even with Delhi, it was great to be able to be integrated into a multi-sport event,” she said.
“With [Glasgow] having more of a bigger timetable of Paralympic events, that’s just completely testament to London 2012.”
After enjoying the home support at London two years ago, Woodward is banking on more of the same again.
“In London it was not daunting whatsoever – it was a warming, home crowd and that put a sense of calmness in me and it made me feel like ‘this is my home and all these people in the stadium are supporting me’.
“So, it will be nice to have that feeling again, it’s a complete advantage to have it on home soil.”