Vanessa Wallace celebrates shot put success

The European champion won bronze at Para-Athletics World Championships in Dubai this week

DESPITE HER challenges Vanessa Wallace is on top of the world.

Already a European champion, the north Londoner won the F34 shot put bronze medal at the Para-Athletics World Championships in Dubai on November 12.

Tottenham-born Wallace, threw a personal best of 7.66m, missing out on the top spot to China’s Zou Lijuan who executed a championship record of 8.76m.

Wallace has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a muscular skeletal condition which causes joint problems and affects leg mobility.

This condition started to affect her as a teenager. It later developed into a neurological condition, Dystonia, which meant she could barely move by the time she was 30.

She uses a wheelchair and still struggles with co-ordination, fatigue and pain, but sport has changed her life.

In 2014 she was scouted during a talent day, and then took up shot-put a year later.

After her recent success she stated: “I’m a little bit shocked. It’s been a long time coming but it feels so good. I’m really proud of myself.

“My coach told me to get [the others] a little bit worried early on. I did my best and it came through.”

She added: ”The event has moved on so much since the last World’s in 2017. It was an amazing competition.

“[The Tokyo Paralympics] can be my time, and it definitely will be. We’re doing really good.”

Just 18 months after throwing her first shot, she reached the finals in Rio Paralympics 2016.

In 2018 she competed at the European Championships in Berlin and took the crown. This was her first major international medal.

She told ITV in 2017: “There aren’t enough muscles in my face to smile hard enough for how proud I am every time I get to put on my GB kit.

“Regardless of challenges, what you have to deal with, you’ve done that, you get to wear your red white and blue.”

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