Abbie Hunnisett – My Story
My name is Abbie, I am 21 years old and I compete in the club throw which is a specialised event for my level of disability. I have moderate to severe cerebral palsy which affects all of my body so I find it challenging to do every day activities that most people can do. Despite this in 2016 I represented Team GB at the Paralympic Games in Rio.
Where it all began
My sporting journey began at the early age of 4 when I started horse riding for the disabled. I rode every weekend and only stopped when I was about 14, I really enjoyed the riding and became quite good and competed at dressage events across the county. At the age of 11 I first tried throwing the club in a PE lesson and school and enjoyed the challenge of throwing it further. In the summer of 2012 I took a club on holiday with me and practiced a bit more and found I improved over the two weeks and threw it around 12 meters. When we got back from holiday we went to the Paralympics in London and I watched the woman’s club throw and was inspired by what I saw. I also realised I was in fact quite good at throwing the club even without lots of practice. Later that year I went to a “throwing chair event” where I met my first coach Camilla who then introduced me to the Weir Archer Academy the athletics club which I am a member. From then onward I started taking things more seriously and the rest is history.
The impact on my life
Sport has had such an amazing impact on my life in all aspects. It’s given me something to focus on and succeed in and I belief that even though I have a disability NOTHING can stop me! It’s helped me become fitter and stronger, I use to find it hard to gain weight and use to look quite skinny and fragile but now I have muscles and am much fitter and healthier. Becoming successful has lead to me completing talks and presentations at school and motivating others to take up sport and be the best they can. Without sport I don’t know what I would be doing with my life, it has given me a real focus and goal.
I have been competing in the Cerebral Palsy Sport Athletics competitions for 6 years which has given me lots of regular competition practice in the Javball and Club Throw. I’ve also traveled around the country and made lots of friends. From 2013 I competed at the Kingston Open and Surrey county Championships, where I set my first huge PB at 17.79m and became Surrey Champion. This helped me get picked for the British Athletics Futures programme for developing athletes and started to get support directly from British Athletics. In 2014 I was selected for the World Class Performance Programme and I went on to compete at the European Championships were I won my first senior GB vest and finished 4th . In 2015 I qualified for the Anniversary Games and threw my first throw over 21m in fact 21.01m and set a new PB. Later that year I went to the World Championships in Doha, which was a great experience and I won my first international medal for Great Britain a Bronze. 2016 was an amazing year for me, I set a new PB of 21.23m and was selected to go to the Paralympic Games in Rio. This was a great experience, and I had achieved one of my dreams to become a Paralympian. Sadly I finished 4th, but not bad for my first Paralympics and at only 20 which for a thrower is a young age.
Goals & ambitions
My goal this year is to be selected for the World Championships in London, and hopefully set a new PB and break the 22m barrier. In the longer term I aim to get to another Paralympic Games and medal. My ultimate ambition is to set a new world record at a Paralympic Games and a win the Gold Medal. I know this is going to be a really tough ask, but if you don’t aim high…….