A Wiltshire College & University Centre student is appealing for donations to help her compete for GB in an international sporting event on the other side of the world.
Lauren Booth is hoping not only to reach the podium, but win gold when she competes in the cycling categories at the INAS Global Games in Brisbane this October.
This event, the largest of its kind in the world for athletes with intellectual impairments, will see more than 1,000 athletes come together to compete against each other in athletics, swimming, table tennis, rowing, basketball, futsal, tennis and cycling.
But unlike other events, this one is self-funded and the 18-year-old from Chippenham is asking for people to help her reach her £4,000 target.
Lauren, a Level 2 Sport student based at the Lackham campus, said: “The Global Games are not funded and so I need to pay for the flights, accommodation, my GB kit and bikes.
“I’m taking a Union Jack to Australia, which is somewhere that I’ve never been before, and everyone who sponsors me in time will have their name printed on the flag.”
Lauren flies out to Australia with her mum on the 9th October, ahead of her opening 30km road race five days later.
Over the course of a week she will then compete in 5km and 10km time trials and two 500m and 3km track races.
Lauren, a Level 2 student based at the Lackham campus, said: “I already have a few National Champion jerseys, but I want to bring home a World Champion vest.”
Lauren, who contracted meningitis when she was just six-weeks-old which left her with brain damage, hearing loss in one ear and cerebral palsy, began cycling when she was just seven-years-old and never needed stabilisers. Her enthusiasm led her straight to the Newport Velodrome aged eight, but shortly afterwards a rule changed the minimum age for velodrome use to 10-years-old. Lauren didn’t lose so much as a day in getting back as soon as she was able to, holding her 10th birthday party at the velodrome!
Since then, she has competed regularly at the Paracycling Nationals in Manchester, and attended the 2017 World Cup in Belgium. In Belgium, her classification for the Paralympic Games was in question. After initially being placed as a C5, the lowest category of disability, further tests revealed that Lauren’s impairment was insufficient for this category and she was declassified, meaning she no longer qualified as Paralympic cyclist. Instead, she entered and qualified for the INAS Global Games.
As well as fundraising, Lauren is also focussing on training – her only day off is a Monday, with every night either being spent on the track at Castle Combe, or on the road, and she says that at her last velodrome session she achieved two personal bests.