Laura is an ex-paralympian and a member of the BBS board of trustees. Read her story below...
I have Congenital Coloboma, Microphthalmia, Nystagmus and a small amount of cataract that effect both eyes.
My family have always been very encouraging and never wanted for me to grow up any different to my brother and two sisters. But as a youngster in school I was never encouraged to take part in physical activity, and even when I was it was always very difficult because of my sight loss.
It was only when I went to secondary school, where I was more supported, that the world of disability sport was introduced to me. I forget how many times I said 'I want to try that'!!
I was introduced to BBS and athletics and was selected to represent the GB at the IBSA Youth Games held in the Czech Republic. I was also encouraged to do more swimming. I had always been wary of deeper water, but having regular sessions in the pool, both at school and attending training weekends at Worcester New College, I gained confidence and learnt all the various strokes and techniques. Soon I was entering BBS and national competitions.
Not finished there, I tried goalball. I think it took me a whole to enjoy having a ball thrown at me, but somehow I found the love and could see a real competitive side to the sport.!! I went onto to play for my school and I was even lucky enough to represent GB, competing in America and Europe.
I have also taken part in equestrian up until recently when my horse sadly passed away. Losing her left a huge gap in my life I struggled to find a sport that's right for me. I've always loved the buzz of the velodrome and saw the criteria for Track2Tokyo and somehow found the love for a bike - secretly I do have a real need for speed!! So, let’s see how this latest adventure takes me!
Sport means so much to me. It's made me part of who I am today; strong, confident and determined.
When people think of sport they immediately think 'fit'. Yes, it does keep you fit, but it's good for your mental wellbeing and social inclusion. This is especially important for anyone with a visual impairment or other disability. Anything is possible and so much time and money goes into improving sport for disabled people and equipment we use. I would encourage anyone to get involved. Just give it a go!!