BONCHESTER gran Kate Murray will be celebrating her 64th birthday on August 30 by competing in her second Paralympics at London 2012.
Murray looks likely to be the oldest British competitor in London, born just a month after the original 1948 Stoke Mandeville Games, the precursor to the Paralympic Games.
And last week Murray expressed her delight at selection, saying: “I am thrilled to be taking part in the London 2012 Paralympic Games and while going to Beijing four years ago was a special moment, being involved in an event like this in your home country is as good as it gets.
“It’s going to be a wonderful experience, and the atmosphere will be terrific. What makes this extra special for me is that I was born in Woolwich, where the Paralympic archery tournament will be taking place at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
“Not only that, the competition gets under way on my birthday.”
At Paralympic level, archery has been on the competition schedule since 1960, but the people at GB Archery and ParalympicsGB believe that the team announced today is the strongest ever to compete.
“We have a very strong squad of 13 international-class archers who all came through a tough selection process, and I am extremely confident of our prospects at the Games,” said Murray’s Paralympic coach Tim Hazell.
A member of the Scottish Borders Athlete Support Programme, Murray, who used to work in Mainetti of Jedburgh, took up the sport of archery after an illness, which caused damage to the nerves in her lower limbs, which meant she had to give up her beloved horses and her job.
She also had to come to terms with having to rely on walking aids to enable her to move around.
Little did she know then that an equally life-changing occurrence was just around the corner. On Christmas Day, 2003, Kate received a gift voucher for the Eastcote House Archery Centre near Hawick.
Even then it took her a while to go along and give it a shot.
“I’d never really been a sport-minded person and wasn’t too sure if I even wanted to do it or not,” she admitted.
“I knew nothing about it and didn’t even know you could do it indoors as well as outside. I eventually went along to give it a try, though, and was hooked from the word go. I signed up for a course and the rest is history.”
Murray will compete in the recurve team for London Games and was included in a group of 30 athletes announced, as part of the now 139-strong GB team, last week. Last season she struck a golden double while competing in a World Record Status shoot in the Czech Republic.
Paralympics GB Chef de Mission Craig Hunter said: “With less than 100 days to go, it is an exciting moment to be announcing another 30 members of Paralympics GB.
“It is a reflection of all the hard work that these athletes have put in over the last four years that we are in a position to announce so many more shooters and such a large archery team for London, following such strong performances on the international stage since Beijing.
“It really feels now as though the team is starting to take shape and I am confident that all these athletes will make Britain proud this summer.”
Also included on the archery team is Beijing gold medallist Danielle Brown, who is believed to be the first athlete with an impairment to win a gold medal for Team England at the Commonwealth Games in a non-disabled event; John Stubbs, who won gold in Beijing, and John Cavanagh, who lifted gold in Athens.