Paralympics: Robyn Love aims to inspire others on their own road to Rio

Robyn Love, who suffers from arthrogryposis, a rare condition where muscles are shortened due to the umbilical cord wrapping itself around the legs. Picture:  Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images
Robyn Love, who suffers from arthrogryposis, a rare condition where muscles are shortened due to the umbilical cord wrapping itself around the legs. Picture: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images
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Robyn Love will become the first Scottish para-athlete in 16 years to represent Great Britain in wheelchair basketball at the Paralympic Games.

And the 26-year-old, who studied at Napier University in Edinburgh, insists she is determined to put on a performance in Rio that will ensure others are inspired to take up the sport just as she was.

Watching on in awe for the first time during London 2012, Love was gripped by wheelchair basketball’s ferocity, speed and competitive nature.

Roll on a few years and she had moved to Worcester to train full time with the squad and now has the chance to earn a Paralympic medal.

And she believes her determination to succeed in the sport, and to inspire others, will make these a great tournament for GB.

“I only started playing wheelchair basketball a few years ago and now it is hitting me that I am going to the Paralympics,” she said. “I can’t wait.

“I saw the sport at London 2012. That was the first time I had ever seen disability sport even though I have been disabled all of my life.

“I’ve been able to do able-bodied sport, though not very well, but nobody ever told me about disability sport and I saw it in London and thought ‘I could do that’.

“Two years later, my disability worsened a little, I took a chance and messaged the Scottish wheelchair basketball development officer and I sat in a chair and loved it.

“This is what I was meant to do. A year later I moved to Worcester, trained full time, got selected for the Europeans and here I am.

“It has been 16 years since a Scottish man or woman has been a part of the Paralympic team and for me that is so exciting.

“I hope that a lot of people watch Rio like I watched London and think ‘I could do that’ and then they could be part of Tokyo.”

The last Scottish women to appear at the Paralympics for GB in wheelchair basketball, Sarah Bailey, has actually had a great influence on Love as a team-mate back home for Lothian Phoenix.

And it is that mentoring that Love believes has her put her in a good frame of mind as she bids to get the best out of herself.

“Whenever I go back home everyone is so proud and excited,” she added. “The last Scottish women to play for Great Britain at a Paralympics, Sarah Bailey, she’s on my team in Scotland and she has been great giving me advice,” she added.

“There was always something holding me back in sport but being in the chair, nothing holds me back. It makes me proud to be part of a team of women who have overcome challenges in their lives.”

• You can help #Supercharge ParalympicsGB to Rio 2016 and beyond. Show your support for the team and find out more at www.paralympics.org.uk/superchargewww.paralympics.org.uk/supercharge