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Grassroots to Glory - Claire Cashmore

Grassroots to Glory - Claire Cashmore

Credit - Imagecomms.

Claire arrived at the 2008 Beijing Games ranked number one in the world in the 100m breaststroke but finished third, a disappointment that still haunts her despite finally making that podium top step in Brazil.  This time around her biggest challenge could come from team-mate Lauren Steadman, another former swimmer who switched to triathlon and won Paralympic silver in Rio.  Both compete in the PTS5 classification, one of the most competitive in the sport. Steadman won the recent World Series race in Leeds and claimed gold in the Para Cup in Coruna, with Claire just behind on both occasions.

 "I’ve learnt over time from the knock backs, after Beijing people told me not to be tough on myself but when you go there and think your name is written on that gold medal, it's tough. I just freaked out on the day and didn't perform," added Claire. "I learned how driven I was by that gold medal, but I didn’t understand how to get to the gold medal and the process that it takes.  That has taught me – being right at the bottom, being so low and having your dream shattered – how to build yourself back up to being at the top again."

Claire in her younger years. Credit - British Triathlon
A younger Claire with her family. Credit - British Triathlon

For Claire, the prevailing narrative for some around the Paralympics has become tiresome, an obsession with the detailed personal journey of every athlete taking away from what they achieve on the field of play.  This is sports story and never a sob story. 

“Paralympians are always seen as these really incredible, inspirational people for just turning up," said Cashmore, one of a generation of athletes who has seen the fortunes of ParalympicsGB transform over the past two decades thanks to National Lottery funding.  I was running down the canal the other day and a guy was like, ‘oh, well done you!’ and I’m thinking, just because I have one arm it does not affect my legs.  We want to be inspirational for breaking down barriers and doing absolutely incredible things in our sporting arena. I don’t want to be inspirational because I tied my shoelaces." 

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £36 million each week for good causes including grassroots and elite sport. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtags: #TNLAthletes #MakeAmazingHappen

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