Tuesday, May 31, 2011

British girl wants to follow in the track blades of Paralympian Oscar Pistorious

From The Daily Mail in the UK:

An amputee who was encouraged by a Paralympic star to fulfil her dreams of running again finally got to meet her hero.

Danielle Bradshaw, 12, (pictured) who had her damaged leg amputated last year set her sights on competing at the Rio Games in 2016 after hearing about Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius (pictured).

The schoolgirl met the 24-year-old South African athlete nicknamed the 'blade runner' and shared her experiences at a stadium in Manchester.

Danielle, from Newton in Hyde, was born with a dislocated knee and hips and chose to have her useless right leg amputated last year.

Since then she has gone from strength to strength and has now set her sights on competing in the next summer games.

Danielle said: 'Meeting him has made me more determined to do well in sport - I want to be like him one day.'

The Astley Sports College pupil had wanted to meet Oscar for three years and was granted her wish by organisers of the BT Paralympic World Cup at Sportcity in Manchester.

But she had a shock when Oscar, who has a double amputation, revealed that her story has also helped spur him on.

Oscar, who was born with a congenital foot defect that led to him having both legs amputated, said: 'Danielle's story is incredibly moving - it's been great to meet her.

'She is a real inspiration to me and can fulfil all her dreams.

'She just has to keep training and believing and she will get there.'

The pair even compared prosthetic limbs with the top disabled athlete joking that Danielle's leg is 'cooler' than his famous carbon fibre prosthetic limbs.

Unlike Oscar, Danielle had a healthy left leg but did not want to spend the rest of her life 'dragging the other one' behind her.

Surgeons told her that they could perform a number of operations and skin grafts to save her leg but admitted the limb would be useless so she opted for an amputation last summer.

She now has a false leg and is learning how to run with the help of coach Shelley Holroyd, a Salford-born javelin thrower who competed internationally for 17 years.

Danielle added: 'It was absolutely amazing to meet Oscar - he was very kind to me and I couldn't believe he described me as an inspiration.'