Picture courtesy of worldwidefeatures.com
A student from The College Ystrad Mynach has returned from the London Paralympics having finished fifth and securing a personal best in the F46 javelin contest.
Hollie Arnold, 18, narrowly missed out on a medal at this year’s Games with a throw of 36.27 metres and now has her sights firmly set on the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, where she is also hoping to compete in discus as well as javelin.
Hollie, who lives in Hengoed and studied sport development at The College Ystrad Mynach, was the youngest ever thrower when she competed in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics aged just 14.
Originally from Grimsby in north Lincolnshire, Hollie and her family moved to South Wales just over a year ago to enable her to access coaching and take advantage of the high quality sports development opportunities available in Wales.
The dedicated teenager, who was born with part of her lower right arm missing, trains at Sport Wales National Centre and Cardiff Metropolitan University and was awarded a BTEC in Level 1 Sport from The College Ystrad Mynach in 2011.
Hollie first became interested in javelin at the age of ten after seeing older brother Ashley throw. Determined to have a go herself, she picked up the javelin and discovered she had a talent for the sport.
Her skills and determination, as well as the support of her family, have seen her win an impressive array of awards in the four years she has been throwing professionally.
Hollie, who has also competed in discus and shot putt at junior world level, ranked third in the senior world after winning bronze at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Senior Championships in New Zealand.
Hollie said: “The experience of being in the Paralympics has been absolutely amazing. It’s such a great feeling to go out into the crowd and feel so proud to represent Team GB and know that everyone there is wanting you to do well.
“I’m so grateful to my family for all their support and everything they’ve done to get me where I am today.”
The talented athlete added: “My mum and dad have really influenced and motivated me because of everything that they’ve sacrificed for me. Everyone should know that no matter what disability you’ve got, you have to try your best as you never know how far you’ll get.”
Having worked hard training for the Paralympic Games, Hollie is planning to stay in Wales to train for the upcoming World Championships in France and the Commonwealth Games in 2014. She is also keen to learn to drive, having postponed it to prioritise training for the Paralympics. She is also considering returning to studying sports development.
She said: “Staff at The College Ystrad Mynach were really lovely and extremely supportive and always let me have time off for competitions. They understand that, as an athlete, you have commitments you need to meet.”