Charlotte Payne: How far can she throw post-cochlear implant surgery?

Having lost all remaining hearing in her “better ear” in December 2023, Charlotte Payne (Paul Dickenson, Reading AC) made the difficult decision to have cochlear implant surgery. The surgery was a success and she has come back stronger, hoping to achieve some big goals in 2024. We caught up with her at Loughborough International to discuss her journey.

How has your cochlear implant impacted your training and competing?

“It's honestly been the craziest two months. I lost my main hearing in December and that was a whole turbulent time. And then actually having the implant surgery there's quite a bit to get over and I had to take about a month off, followed by a month where my surgeon told me I had to take it easy. So, now I can finally let go a little bit more and it’s starting to show a bit more in my results."

See the magical moment Charlotte's cochlear implant was activated.

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“April was a bit of experimenting and learning how to hear and it’s been a really crazy journey. I'm glad that I'm back stronger and better than I was before, which is obviously a relief because there’s always risks with surgery and how long it’ll take to recover and things like that. It's definitely a relief to be back throwing the distances that I’m throwing. I threw my second furthest ever [71.33m at Southern Athletics League meeting] yesterday and a decent throw today [at Loughborough International] as well.

“After the past few months, I'm taking everything as a win. My mum always said that, if nothing else happened this year and I just got my implant and could hear, then this year will be an amazing year. If I can throw far as well, then that would be brilliant.”

What are your goals for the year?

“I think yesterday was a huge confidence boost for me and as I say, it meant a lot to me after everything that we've been through. It kind of renewed that motivation and inspiration for the year, just knowing that I'm definitely capable of the things that I've got in my head and the things I know my body can do. Hopefully, if all goes to plan, we'll have European Championships and if everything goes super well, then obviously the Olympics are on the cards. After the year we’ve had that would be a brilliant way to go out this year.”

What are your aspirations for the Pickering Memorial Throws International?

“I am really looking forward to the Pickering International. I was really close with Shaun Pickering; he was team manager on a couple of teams that I was on. And he always had so much time for me, he put so much effort in, and he invested a lot in me and all the athletes around me as well. And then I've been so gratefully supported by the Ron Pickering Fund over the years. So, it's something that really means a lot to me. To be team captain as well it's an amazing feeling. So, I'm really looking forward to going out next week and I think it’s going to be an incredible day and lots of really talented athletes as well. Definitely one to keep an eye on.”