full screen background image

Rio-bound Salford Paralympian Hannah, 20, eager to get started

Top athlete Hannah Russell says she is feeling confident ahead of the Paralympic games in Rio next month.

The 20-year-old partially-sighted swimmer says that despite winning silver four years ago at London 2012, she is feeling far more prepared for Rio.

Hannah, who studies Sports Science at Salford University, trains at the High Performance Centre in Manchester.

She will fly out to Rio on 1 September.

Hannah Russell 091 N445

Team GB had a stunning Olympic Games, sitting second in the overall medal table with an incredible 27 golds.

Now is the time for the Paralympians to shine and show the world exactly what they’re made of.

Organisers in Brazil have been forced to scale back some aspects of the 2016 Paralympics Games due to a lack of funding, but the pressure remains the same for the top-rated athletes.

Hannah said: “London 2012 was all about the experience.

I went in there as quite a young athlete, and going forward another four years I feel physically and mentally stronger.

“This is my first away games so there are going to be some differences but I know what’s going on and I’ll be a lot more relaxed this time.

Hannah Russell 118 N445

“This time around I have set myself high standards. I’m hoping to be able to reach my goals with the amount of training that I’ve done.

“Going into Rio I am feeling really confident and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do.”

Hannah came away with three medals at the London 2012 Paralympics.

She won silver for 400m Freestyle, and then added to her campaign by winning two bronze medals in the 100m Backstroke and 100m Butterfly.

Last month, Russell scored a British record at the 2016 British Summer Championships in Sheffield winning gold in the S12 100m Freestyle in 58.94 seconds.

She said: “My training has really helped me achieve well in my first year. Having my knowledge around my swimming and combining that with my sports science degree, I’ve got the best of both worlds.

“I’ve had a few adaptions with my visual impairment and with my training programme being so intense I have had to juggle it a bit. I have been helped by all of the lecturers on my course, especially Clare Marsh, who has been there from the very start helping me every step of the way.

“I have to stress that I wouldn’t be here without the support of everyone else behind the scenes, my parents, support staff and also Salford University and all of the educational support I’ve had. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be able to be here, it’s a group achievement.”

Following her appearance at the Rio Paralympics, Hannah plans to return to her studies in January.

Clare Marsh, senior lecturer from the School of Health Science said: “I think it is brilliant that Hannah will be competing in the Rio Olympics.

“It’s an inspiration to her peers. Hannah has never let her partial-sightedness stop her.

“She is so down to earth and just gets on with things. She is also a good student and works very hard.”

Facebook Comments

Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.