Supporting Para-Athletes in sport: YTP Ambassador & Shot Put Champion Amy Thompson
As part of our ongoing campaign on supporting para-athletes in sport, Kukri Sports recently caught up with Youth Talent Programme Ambassador and para-athlete, Amy Thompson.
Thompson, who joined Kukri as a YTP Ambassador last year, is a remarkable para-athlete who was recently crowed Ambulant Shot Put Champion at this year’s England Athletic Open and Senior Para Championships.
Commenting on her triumph, Thompson was full of pride, “Being Ambulant shot put champion means a lot to me. It shows my development over the past year, as last year I hadn’t medalled at the Senior Championships.
“I also loved the experience of competing alongside able-bodied shot putters.”
Thompson, who initially started her journey into sports at a young age after joining Dwarf Sports Association, recounts her eventual transition into shot put and discus. “The charity really helped me and other people by introducing dwarfism to sport.
“I started throwing frisbees and cricket balls, and then I got picked up from a local club because I was pretty good at it. As I got older, I moved onto shot put and discus with a club in Wavertree. It’s just evolved from there, where it’s gradually got more competitive and moved into para sports.”
Thompson also touched on her training, and the preparation required for each discipline. “Shot put requires a lot of speed and that applies to discus too. You need speed and momentum to get it far, and then you also need a lot of flexibility in your joints to get as much momentum as you can around the implements,” she explains, emphasising the dedication and hard work that have led to her success.
As a Kukri YTP Ambassador, Amy aims to promote awareness about para-athletes participating in both shot put and discus events, whilst also tackling the stigma and stereotypes around para-athletes.
“What England Athletics are doing with the Youth Talent Programme is really good with the inclusion of para-athletes. It’s really helped with the integration between the YTP athletes and the para-athletes because it creates a relative between us all.
“It’s nice as we all know each other and can support each other in future competitions that we might be in.”
Being a para-athlete in both shot put and discus has shaped her perspective on the importance of adaptive sports and inclusivity. “When I initially started shot put and discus at a young age, it took me a while to adapt to the weights and implements involved compared to other able-bodied athletes my age.
“I think it’s important that every implement is adapted to suit the individual needs of athletes with differing disabilities. It’s important that this is done, as it would not only help the adaptiveness of competitions, but also increase participation for disabled athletes who might currently be restricted,” she explains.
Throughout her journey, she draws inspiration from sporting role models, such as Jonnie Peacock and seven-time Paralympic champion, Hannah Cockroft. “It’s great to see them flourishing in their sport, and I take a lot of inspiration from both of them.”
In Thompson’s opinion, the shotput and discus events stand out as inclusive for para-athletes due to the change of weights, implements, and sizes, along with the introduction of the Raza point score system, enabling fair comparisons among athletes of differing levels of disability.
To cope with the pressure of competition, she adopts a focused mindset. “I stay focused and just stick to my own distances. My mum used to say, ‘you are here to break your own personal best and not anyone else’s,’ and that has really helped me to stay focused on myself and not get distracted by other athletes,” she reveals.
Reflecting on the challenges faced as a para-athlete, Thompson addressed the misconceptions and the importance of showcasing disabled athletes in the media. “The pre-conception of disabled athletes is stereotypical; they think we’re not as capable as able-bodied athletes.
“I’m frustrated for disabled athletes that don’t get into sports because they get into the mindset that they are not able to get into sport when everyone else is.
“If it’s shown more within the mainstream media, then other athletes looking to participate will feel more inspired and encouraged to get into sport,” she advocates.
Looking ahead, Amy aspires to continue developing her athletic performances and participating in bigger and better competitions. She also aims to play a more active role in the media industry, posting frequently on her channels to drive the narrative of acceptance for disabled athletes in sports.
To her fellow para-athletes who might be hesitate to pursue shot put, discus, or any other sport due to their disability, she sends an empowering message, “From my experiences, sport really helps you to grow your confidence, and it really helps you on a personal level and with your mental well-being too.”
Kukri is proud to stand alongside Amy Thompson in her journey as a disabled athlete in sport. We fully support her in her aims to promote awareness, inclusivity, and recognition for other para-athletes’ dedication and achievements.
For more information about Amy Thompson, click here.
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