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Gilroy’s Paralympic dream could be over if she fails in ‘make or break’ year

By Doug O'Kane, Sports Editor Friday 28th February 2014
Sue Gilroy.

Dodworth woman Sue Gilroy may have to give up on her dream of a Paralympic medal due to a lack of funding if she does not succeed during a 'make or break' 2014.

 

The 41-year-old teacher at Shawlands Primary School – who is in a wheelchair and suffers 70 joint dislocations per day due to Ehlers Danlos syndrome – is a former European and Commonwealth champion and world bronze medallist.

 

She will be going for her 20th British Championships title next week in Grantham and will attempt to win the men's competition for the first time. After that she will train for the World Championships in Beijing, China in August in which she needs to win a medal to reclaim her funding.

 

She has not received any money from UK Sport since failing to win a medal at the London Olympics in 2012 despite having a sensational 2013 which saw her move to number three in the world in her class and win European bronze.

 

"I am ranked higher than most of the funded players but, because I didn't win in London, I don't get any money and I have had to support myself for the last year," said Gilroy.

 

"I think funding should be based on your ranking and your performances across a whole year rather than how you do in one-off events. The only way I can get my funding back is to medal in Beijing but if I don't then I won't be able to continue paying for myself. It is very expensive to enter ranking tournaments around the world.

 

"I would have to finish which would be really disappointing because I still think I have got a lot left to achieve. My aim is to get to my fifth Paralympics in Rio in 2016 and win a medal there for the first time. It's the only thing I have not done in my career and I'd love to do it."