Gabby Down, 14, named in GB Paralympics squad

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GABBY Down has been named in the seven-strong ParalympicsGB fencing team for the London 2012 Games.

The 14-year-old Oakgrove School student only started competing in late 2009 when she was talent-spotted at the National Junior Games. Her place at the Paralympics was confirmed earlier this week when she was still just 13, meaning she is likely to be one of the youngest athletes to take part in the capital.

Prior to her involvement in wheelchair fencing, Gabby also used to enjoy wheelchair basketball and athletics. She rapidly progressed through the ranks after regularly attending the BPA’s Talent Transition Programme and now competes at European and International level, travelling as far as Canada to compete.

Securing a 9th place finish at the 2011 Lonato Championships – her second international competition – sits amongst Gabby’s greatest achievements in the sport to date, but all she can think about now is her big adventure in London come September. She will be joined by Gemma Collis and Justine Moore in the epee team event.

“It’s such a privilege to be chosen to participate in the Paralympics and I’m so excited about staying in the Athletes’ Village,” she said.

“My disability has never been an obstacle, and I could only dream of this. I’m working really hard and training six days a week now. I can’t wait.”