ONE of the fastest female Paralympians in the world made a dash for Hart Plain Infants School.
Athlete Sophia Warner will represent Great Britain at the Paralympics and took time out from her training schedule to meet children from the Cowplain school yesterday.
She spoke to them about how, despite having cerebral palsy, she is aiming for gold in the 100m and 200m sprint in August.
The 37-year-old mum-of-two, who has limited movement in her legs and left arm, said: ‘I absolutely love coming into schools, it’s my favourite thing.
‘The children are always very positive and they’re not prejudice at all.
‘They ask lots of questions and have no inhibitions and ask questions adults are probably dying to ask.’
Last year, Sophia clinched silver in the 200m and bronze in the 100m at the World Paralympic Championships in New Zealand.
Her record for the 100m is 11.9 seconds which makes her the second fastest person with cerebral palsy in the world.
In this summer’s games, she will race against athletes with similar disabilities.
She delighted the children by showing a recording of the 200m race in a special assembly about courage.
Sophia said: ‘Even though I didn’t win the gold, every time I watch it I think I might just make it’, she joked.
‘I train six days a week and on Saturdays I spend the days with my children.
‘The most courageous thing I do is try to stay awake as it’s hard work. But if you find something you’re good at you must keep practising.’
Allan Lucie, seven, was given the chance of holding the World Championship medals.
And he was very impressed. He said, ‘The medals were amazing. I hope Sophia wins her race.’
The children at Hart Plain even have a stake in her winning – they are sponsoring her £500.
Julie Riggott, from the Friends of Hart Plain Infants, said: ‘Sophia is an amazing athlete, she is an inspiration.
‘But financially it’s tough so we have done some fundraising for her and hope it helps in some way in her bid for gold.’
Sophia, who lives in Surrey, has given up a £75,000 a year job in marketing to pursue her dream of claiming Paralympic glory.
She relies on sponsorship from companies like Boots and Proctor and Gamble and generous donations from the community.
The children presented her with flowers and a card they had made to wish her luck for the Games.
The school is holding an Olympics spring fair on May 26.