Emily aims for the Paralympic Games

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Aspiring Paralympian Emily Holder is aiming for two “gold medals” – in fencing and in business.

The Harrogate College student may only be 17, but she’s already close to the highest level of wheelchair fencing, with national championship medals – among others – for England to her name .

Emily, who made her debut for Great Britain last November at the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Pisa, now has her sporting goals firmly set on breaking into the Paralympic team and winning. of a medal.

She also flew high in her BTEC Level 3 Extended National Diploma in Business – despite facing pandemic-related interruptions and a recovery period after surgery – which she will complete this year .

Emily has cerebral palsy and the level of her mobility varies depending on the intensity of the chronic pain she experiences and her levels of spasticity (muscle twitching) and dystonia (involuntary muscle twitching). She often uses a crutch but can do without it on good days, and also has an electric wheelchair.

For her fencing, she uses a specialist sports wheelchair which costs £4,000 and which the athletes have to pay for themselves, as the UK women’s team receives virtually no financial support.

His fencing equipment – ​​including two different blades, foil and epee, mask, gloves and more – is also expensive, so his participation required a significant investment of money and time from his family.

Emily’s interest in competitive sport began when she was nine years old, after attending a disability sports festival and deciding to take up swimming and fencing.

She ultimately chose to focus on fencing as it would give her a better chance of becoming a Paralympian.

She said: “Fencing is a niche sport anyway, and when you add disability to the mix, it’s tiny. There are only four competitive British female wheelchair fencers in the whole country.

“Paris in 2024 may be my first chance to compete in the Paralympic Games in a team event, but LA in 2028 may be a bit more realistic goal.”

Emily, who lives in North Rigton, started out at Harrogate Fencing Club but now does the majority of her training in Milton Keynes while also using online coaching as well as facilities in Durham, York and Bath.

Anyone wishing to support Emily’s fencing by sponsoring her can do so by emailing emilyholder43@yahoo.com.

For more information on wheelchair fencing, visit britishdisabilityfencing.co.uk/.

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