Rio Olympics 2016: Suffolk's Katy Sealy thrilled to represent Belize in hurdles

Katy Sealy
Katy Sealy finished ninth at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in the heptathlon

The tiny Suffolk village of Bawdsey is probably one of the last places you would look for one of Central America's star athletes.

Located just north of Felixstowe, it is, however, home to Katy Sealy, one of just three athletes who will represent Belize at the Rio Olympics.

Since the 25-year-old chose to represent the nation of her father's birth, she has become Central American heptathlon champion three times as well as breaking the region's record points total.

Her exploits have given Sealy, who only took up athletics seriously at 15, a chance on the grandest stage of all, even though it is in only one of her normal seven events.

"I never dreamt of going to the Olympics. I do the sport because I love it and I always said the Olympics would be a dream or a bonus and it's come true," she told BBC Radio Suffolk.

"I haven't reached the standard for the heptathlon, but Belize have granted me a wildcard place which means that I can represent them in a track event, which is why I'm only doing the 100m hurdles."

Katy Sealy
Katy Sealy was the Belize flagbearer at the 2014 Commonwealth Games

Sealy's personal best is a wind-assisted 15.20 secs, a time that would place her just inside the top 100 women in Britain for 2016.

However, knowing her time is a full three seconds slower than the recent world record-breaking run of Keni Harrison at the London Anniversary Games, her motivation is personal improvement, rather than a podium place.

"My first aim is to go and enjoy it. The hurdles is not one of my strongest events, but is not my weakest so I've got a lot of room for improvement.

"Literally everything I'm doing (in the build-up) is hurdles and speed. The aim is to go out there, run a personal best, enjoy it and get Belize on the map at the Olympics," she said.

For some spectators, the most memorable part of an Olympic opening ceremony is seeing the smaller nations walk out along with the massed ranks of competitors from China and the United States.

Sealy was Belize's flagbearer at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and walking out alongside 200m runner Brandon Jones, judoka Renick James and a handful of national suits in Rio will probably be something she won't forget in a hurry.

"I think back to the opening ceremony at Glasgow when I was carrying the flag and what an amazing experience that was; to only imagine the Olympic one is going to be at least twice as crazy as that.

"It'll only be the three of us and some officials, so we'll be very small walking out."

Katy Sealy was talking to BBC Suffolk's Graeme McLoughlin

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