Paralympic athlete visit – Mel Clarke

Paralympic athlete visit – Mel Clarke


Sarah Cooper
Sarah Cooper
Paralympic athlete visit – Mel Clarke

On Tuesday 13th July year 7 students were extremely lucky to have a virtual meeting with Paralympic athlete and medallist Mel Clarke.

Mel is a hugely successful international archer.  In 2003, Mel became the first disabled archer in Europe to represent her country on the able–bodied team, but a few days into the tournament she was struck down with Lyme disease. Mel was left fighting for her life, subsequently suffering from paraplegia and loss of sight in one eye. Doctors told her she would never compete again and, with blindness in the eye that Mel aimed with, her career appeared to be over. 

Mel was determined to continue shooting and worked tirelessly with her trainer to recover. She developed a new approach to archery, tilting her head over in order to be able to aim correctly. Perseverance, hard work and tears followed but Mel’s ‘never give up’ approach saw her winning the Para World Championships just two years later!

In 2008 Mel represented GB at the Paralympic Games, where she won a bronze medal, and equalled the Paralympic record in her discipline. At London 2012, Mel finished one better, adding a silver medal to her collection. 

Our year 7 students were lucky enough for Mel to be able to tell them her story via video link before having the opportunity to ask questions via their teachers.  It was a great opportunity for the students to hear about the experiences Mel has had as both a disabled athlete and a world record and paralympic medal winner. Mel was really impressed with the insightful and thoughtful questions the students asked and wished them all luck with Sports Day.

Stanley said “It was amazing to hear that she didn’t win gold by such a small amount of points”

Riya was sympathetic to the fact “she broke a leg doing ballet and then got an infection in her hip”

But Daniel summed it up by saying “It inspired me to become an Olympic athlete”

Thank you Mel.

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