Para-athlete Simran Kaur wins silver and bronze at Junior World Championships

August 24 2017

Runner Simran Kaur enjoyed great success in her first experience of global competition at the World Para Athletics Junior Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland.

.

Runner Simran Kaur enjoyed great success in her first experience of global competition at the World Para Athletics Junior Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland. 

Simran, a 14-year-old pupil at Redland Green School, competed in the 100m and 200m sprints in the T46* category (arm amputee or impairment). She was the youngest person chosen to join the GB para-athletics team at the championships which took place on August 3-6. 

Finishing just over a tenth of second behind the winner, Beatriz Hatz of the USA, Simran took silver in the 100 metres in the T42 to T47 category clocking 13.58 seconds. In the 200 metres she took bronze in 28.83 seconds for a personal best at 200 metres.

Simran said: “It did feel amazing and emotional standing on the podium. I felt ‘wow’! And to have family there supporting me made it even better.”

Proud father Raj Singh added: “We were all in Switzerland, including her brother and all the extended family. We had a special mention from the commentator about all the noise we were making. 

“He said: ‘Simran Kaur, her family are here, I’ve seen them, and I can certainly hear them!’ ”

Now Simran’s back she’s had some time off to recover from a knee injury before taking part in the final race of the season at the School Games in Loughborough on September 1. She’ll then begin winter training with the aim of qualifying for the Commonwealth Games and European Championships. 

“When I came back from the Worlds the first thing I said to my coach was that I’d like to do that again,” said Simran. 

“It was just such a great experience to go out by yourself there with a bunch of people that I’d never met but who all had a disability. 

“I’ve made some really good friends with athletes from Germany, Australia and the USA too.”

Simran has always been a sporty child. She’s played for the super-successful Westbury Park Foxes Girls Football team which won all their games last season to become Bristol Girls League under 14 Champions 2016-17. But, to avoid any risk of future ankle or knee injury she is going to concentrate her sporting efforts on athletics now.

The 100m is her preferred event but she set a personal best in the 200m at the Juniors. To improve she needs to work on her balance as she sometimes leans to one side when she runs. 

Simran explained: “I have to work harder on my core to stay up straight and to make me balance.

“I get less of a pump when I push my arm than someone with two. Eighteen per cent of speed comes from your arms so I have to overcompensate on the other side.”

The Limb Power games at Stoke Mandeville first sparked Simran’s interest in athletics. The event is for anyone who’s lost a limb to try out a number of sports, including seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, and archery. She was spotted by the British Athletics coaches on the athletics track and told that with the right training she could go far. 

Mum Gita Sawhney said: “It’s all happened very quickly. We always knew that she was a fast runner and she’s definitely got the ability to keep going.

“The world record holder in Simran’s category has a very similar arm disability, so it can be overcome with training.

“We now need to start saving for all the competitions that she might qualify for. The World Games is on the Gold Coast and the Paralympics is in Tokyo.” 

The family are also keen to find some help with sponsorship, to help with the cost of training, attending local competitions and overnight stays. SportsAid have a scheme where individuals can be sponsored by partners to build a lasting relationship with a promising athlete. 

Nick Harris, UK Athletics trainer for Bristol & West Athletics Club and Simran’s trainer said: “Well done to Simran – a great start to her career as an International Para Athlete. 

 “I am so proud of all our international athletes and look forward to helping them become the next generation of Bristol’s sporting stars.”

Before the para team set out they met up for a training event with Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees who said:  “As part of our work as European City of Sport we want to start recognising  Bristol’s own local sporting talent. We want to take a stand on this issue to improve our offer as a global sporting city.

 “These amazing young people are the future of Bristol’s sporting ambition. "

 “It’s been a pleasure to meet these inspiring youngsters and watch them get in shape for the world class competition. 

 “I hope they and their stories will prove to be inspiration to Bristolians of all ages to get out and try something new.”