An inspiring amputee has advised how competing within the Paralympics restored her confidence after a horror accident within the RAF. Shona Brownlee, from Livingston, West Lothian, was a former member of the Royal Air Drive when she broke her ankle throughout a ultimate coaching train.
After it didn’t heal, she developed issues which led to the below-knee amputation. Devastated by the incident, she feared that her profession within the armed forces was over earlier than it had the possibility to get off the bottom.
However decided to search out the positives, inspiring Shone explored sitskiing as a part of a navy programme. From there, she went on to safe her place as a Paralympian competing in Bejing in 2022.
Shona advised Edinburgh Reside: “It was undoubtedly a life-changing damage and issues have been fairly robust at the beginning. I used to be confronted with the prospect of dropping my profession when it had barely begun. Studying to sitski opened up a complete new world. It confirmed me that ‘incapacity’ did not essentially imply ‘lack of ability’ and that I used to be nonetheless capable of obtain issues regardless of my damage.”
Ultimately, Shona was invited to affix Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Crew (AFPST), who lent her gear and offered teaching. By means of there, she excelled and obtained her first expertise of racing at navy ski championships.
She mentioned: “As I started to coach extra critically, it was a little bit of a juggling act balancing coaching schedules and my full-time job, particularly as nearly all of our coaching naturally befell overseas within the mountains. I used to be provided a spot on the RAF Elite Athlete Scheme in the summertime of 2021 which enabled me to deal with coaching full-time as I aimed for Paralympic choice.
“On the identical time, I used to be chosen for the GB Para-Alpine World Class Programme and competed in my first World Cup races that 12 months, profitable two bronze medals. This certified me to race on the Para-Alpine Snowboarding World Championships in Norway in January 2022 earlier than I used to be then chosen for the Beijing Paralympics.”
Shona needed to work onerous so as to be chosen for Crew GB in China. She competed in quite a few worldwide races earlier than she was capable of meet the factors.
On how she obtained on in Beijing, she continued: “I had three prime 10 finishes, and got here sixth in Tremendous G and ninth in each Big Slalom and Slalom. I hope I can study from the expertise I had in Beijing and develop over the subsequent few years and hopefully qualify to compete once more on the subsequent Paralympics in Milan-Cortina 2026.”
Shona, who’s a musician for the RAF in addition to a extremely profitable snow sports activities athlete, provided recommendation for anybody wishing to observe in her footsteps. She mentioned: “I haven’t got a sporting background and did not take into account myself remotely athletic till I took up snowboarding.
“I would at all times encourage anyone to grab alternatives and take a look at one thing new, even when it means pushing out of your consolation zone – which I undoubtedly was, and nonetheless am at instances. You by no means know the place it’d lead and also you simply may shock your self.”
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