Hornchurch schoolgirl Amy Marren’s Paralympic dream is set to be turned into reality
�Amy Marren was aged just 10 when she sat entranced by what she was seeing on TV, telling her mum: “I’m going to do that.”
It was four years ago and the Hornchurch schoolgirl was watching Paralympian Ellie Simmonds as she glided through the water at the Beijing Games.
Now 13, the Hall Mead School pupil has proven dreams can be made reality after it was announced last month that she has a place in the Team GB Paralympics relay squad – the fastest disabled women’s swim team in the world.
“Ellie Simmonds was only 13 then,” said Amy. “I was in awe I suppose and it would be nice [to win gold], but we’ll see!
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“I’ve got a brilliant coach [Gary Rogers] behind me and my family are very supportive. My mum, dad, nan and little sister Georgia are always there.”
Amy – one of the youngest competitors at the Paralympics – is now at a training camp in Mallorca, Spain, where she will also sit two French tests and a science exam for her GCSEs.
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Mother Jo, 43, couldn’t be more proud of her daughter. She said: “It is a bit surreal. There is so much talk about the Olympics and Paralympics and it’s hard to believe that Amy is going to be there and be part of it.”
Amy was born without her right hand, a quirk of nature which doctors have not been able to explain, but the disability has only driven her to succeed.
“It never bothered her at all,” said Jo. “She does what you and I do but does it her own way.
“Watching her tie shoelaces, or do her hair is like watching someone do a magic trick.
“For Amy there is no such word as can’t, only can.”
Amy, of Osborne Road, who belongs to Romford Town Swimming Club, swims an average of 6,000km a week in a gruelling six-day cycle of 5am starts and late evening training at The Campion School in Wingletye Lane, Hornchurch.
Her love of swimming appears to have surfaced during a visit to Australia aged just three where she spent “every day in the pool”, said Jo.
But it’s also in the genes – both Amy’s maternal grandparents were competitors in their local swimming clubs in West Ham and Liverpool.
Jo said: “She was a water baby right from the beginning. I think it’s something she was just meant to do.”