Amy Thompson: Celebrating the achievements of women in athletics

International Women’s Day 2024 is all about inspiring inclusion and celebrating the diverse achievements of women. At our recent England Age Group Indoor Championships, we caught up with Amy Thompson, UK number one F41 shot putter, to discuss her achievements and athletics journey.

How did you first get involved in athletics?

Amy clearly had a talent for throwing from a young age, so joining a local athletics club helped her to develop as a young athlete.

“I joined the Dwarf Sports Association when I was about three years old and learnt to do basic skills like throwing a tennis ball, a cricket ball, or a frisbee. I had some competitors who were throwing about five metres, and when I was about five, I was throwing a tennis ball about 15 meters. So that's when I entered into the sport and I joined an athletics club, Liverpool Harriers and they helped me train and compete when I was younger.”

What is your favourite thing about being part of a club?

Finding camaraderie in a largely individual sport has been important to Amy and the group of throwers at the club always encourage each other to achieve their best both on and off the field of play.

“My favourite thing about the club is probably the amount of teammates I've got, we have quite a big amount of throwers in the club, so we like to be social, sometimes we might go bowling, or we might go for something to eat. In local meetings when we compete as a team, we like to stay and support each other throughout the day.”

Who is your role model?

To inspire young athletes to get involved and excel within the sport, it is important for them to find role models just like them achieving at the highest level in the sport. One of Amy’s favourite things about athletics is meeting and competing with other para-athletes like her.

“My role model is Raoua Tlili, she’s still competing and is the world record holder for my category. In Italy at an international meeting last season she was on the start list, but she didn’t compete. I was kind of nervous to meet her, but then she didn’t turn up, so it wasn’t too bad.”

How do you achieve your best at a competition?

Everyone has their own way to settle competition nerves, Amy finds it helpful to be social and chat to her competitors.

“If it’s a national competition, I like to talk to people and get comfortable with my competition. I thrive in a social environment, so I’ll talk to competitors about their last week and how they prepared. This helps me stay composed and relax.

“Then if it’s an international competition, I keep my head down, stay focused and outline my goals for the competition. I think through what I want to do if it doesn’t go to plan.”

What are your greatest achievements in the sport?

As an U20 athlete, Amy has already achieved highly in the sport as she currently holds the UK F41 shot put record and won gold in the Italian Para Athletics Grand Prix.

“Competing in Italy was a very good experience, which was my first international appearance. It was a whole new environment, in terms of how to deal with the pressure, I had a new team and hardly knew anyone in the competition. I just really enjoyed being out there and being somewhere different.”

Another highlight in the sport is being able to improve and keep throwing longer distances.

“Achieving personal bests is a fun thing to do, so I really enjoy that as well.”

How do you overcome setbacks?

Every athlete will face obstacles during their career, so it is important for athletes of all levels to have strategies in place to bounce back from this. Amy has strong self-belief to overcome challenges she has faced.

“Throughout the season I had a couple of performances which weren’t my best, but I've always learned to believe in myself and know what the end goal is that I want to achieve. It’s not all going to come soon, it’s going to take time and work, but it’s just self-belief really.”

This International Women’s Day we want to inspire inclusivity and celebrate the achievement of women within athletics and running.

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