London 2012: Disabled archer aims for gold at Olympics

Danielle Brown, Paralympic archer
Image caption Danielle Brown uses a stool to balance when she shoots

A young archer who lives in Shropshire and became the first disabled person to compete for her country in an able bodied discipline is hoping to add to her tally of gold medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Danielle Brown from Telford is training with Archery GB at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre.

The 23-year-old, who has only been shooting for eight years, won a team gold at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and an individual gold at the Beijing Paralympics.

She moved from her family home in the Yorkshire Dales to be nearer Lilleshall, where she trains for up to seven hours a day, five to six days a week, to achieve her ambition of a gold medal in 2012.

"I can't imagine there'll be another home Games in my lifetime and it's a really exciting opportunity I'm working towards," she said.

Miss Brown has chronic regional pain syndrome. It is a neurological disorder which causes constant pain in her feet.

She had a very active childhood but when she was 12 her feet started to hurt and by the age of 13 she had to stop all sports. It was not until she was 16 that her condition was diagnosed.

She was prescribed drugs for the pain, but said she no longer took them: "I can't really remember much of my life between the ages of 16 and 19 because the drugs made me forget, made me feel sick and dizzy and tired. I just figured it wasn't worth feeling rubbish all the time."

Determined to carry on with sport, she said it came down to a choice between archery and swimming.

"To me playing with bows and arrows just seemed a bit more appealing than paddling backwards and forwards in a pool," she said.

'Once in a lifetime'

Her first success was in the 2007 World Championships. She came home with two gold medals and decided to set her sights on the Olympics

"I thought 'I don't just want to go to Beijing just to be there and compete. I want to come home with a gold medal'," she said.

She deferred university to train for the Games and later completed a law degree.

Miss Brown currently devotes all her time to training for her "once in a lifetime" opportunity in London in 2012.

Because of the pain in her feet, she is unable to stand to shoot and uses a stool to support herself.

"Otherwise it would be a bit like dominoes. Everyone stands in a big long line so it would a bit of a disaster if I fell over," she said.

She is not the only archer in the family. Her younger sister Georgie is a member of the junior GB team.

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