International paralympic athlete Katrina Hart told young athletes at Lady Barn House School in Stockport never to give up.
The multi-medal winning 100m and 200m sprinter, who was born with cerebral palsy, has won gold, silver and bronze medals at the Olympic, world, Commonwealth and European IPC games, though may have performed better at both Beijing and London but for carrying injuries.
Now she is in a last-minute race to qualify for Rio, competing in events in Germany, London and Loughborough to get high enough in the world rankings to make the British team.
Katrina said: “What ever you do, what ever your dreams, don’t let anything stand in your way.
“My left side doesn’t work too well, but I never made that an excuse. In fact, I didn’t even realise I was not able bodied and always competed in open competition.”
Katrina told a packed assembly at the independent co-educational primary school on Schools Hill in Cheadle: “I have my sports teacher to thank for my athletics career.
‘Believe In Yourself’
“Day in day out she would encourage me; she would set up practice sessions for me at lunch and after school and make me try harder and harder each time; she took me to competitions and told me I could compete against and beat anyone and everyone and you too must believe in yourself.”
As well as addressing all the children, Katrina also took Lady Barn’s young athletes through some circuit training sessions to show just what a top Paralympian has to do on a daily basis to reach the top.
Head of the Lady Barn’s Lower Junior School, Emma Beer, said: “We want to inspire all our children to be the very best they can be, to realise their full potential and enjoy staying fit and healthy no matter what their natural abilities.
“If that means competing at the elite level, we want to enable them to fulfil those ambitions.
“If it means simply enjoying regular exercise then that should be their goal. Katrina immediately engaged and enthused all our youngsters and made them see what was possinble, given hard work determination and happy positive approach.”