Bronze medallist relishes role
Paralympic bronze medallist Fiona Southorn encouraged some of the top athletes from three Marlborough colleges to go after their sporting dreams when she spoke at a motivational workshop at the Marlborough Boys' College pavilion in Blenheim yesterday.
Southorn, who won bronze in the C5 individual pursuit cycling at the London Paralympics in August and is missing her left hand, was in town in her role as one of 10 Sport NZ sports ambassadors.
Born in Tokoroa and based in Waipu, Northland, three-time Paralympian Southorn has held the role for six years and said it was something she thoroughly enjoyed doing.
"I just got asked if I would do it. Sparc [now Sport NZ] thought I had a good story to tell and I was happy to accept the offer . . . It's great interacting with the kids. I like to see them set their goals and put their aspirations down on paper because everyone's got a dream."
More than 30 students from MBC, Marlborough Girls' College and Queen Charlotte College attended the workshop, where Southorn told them how she almost missed out on winning her bronze medal after she retired following the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. Two years later, she was offered a spot in the New Zealand team by the new Paralympics NZ manager and, although initially unsure whether she still had what it took, a third placing at the next world champs inspired her to have another crack.
Since winning her bronze medal, 44-year-old Southorn said she was being recognised by a lot more people and often had people come up and congratulate her on what she had achieved in London.
- The Marlborough Express