Help needed to send self-funded athlete to the Summer Paralympic Games 2021
Posted: Thu, 22 Jul 2021 10:58
Athlete Gemma Collis-McCann is soon traveling to Tokyo to compete in the Paralympic Games this summer. Unfortunately, Gemma has encountered an unexpected bill of £800 to cover the increased freight costs. The extra sum is to cover transporting her new wheelchair fencing training frame from France to the UK to ensure she is best prepared for the Games.
We're spreading the word to help Gemma raise £800 to continue her Paralympic journey.
Gemma's story so far
Tokyo will be Gemma's third Paralympics in the fencing team and the first time she has qualified to compete in two weapons. Her pedigree in this sport is impressive despite being self-funded since 2013.
Gemma is a four times World Cup Medallist and the first and only British woman to win World Cup Gold at the Montreal World Cup in 2018, after beating the 2017 Double World Champion and World No 1 Zsuszanna Kranjyak in the Women's Category A Épée final.
Gemma's journey to this point has been challenging. Growing up Gemma took part in almost all sports. Figure skating at national level between the ages of 8 and 11, playing county level hockey between 13 and 15, was District 100m Champion between the ages of 12 and 15 and was double county champion in triple jump aged 15. Gemma dreamt of going to the Olympics to represent Britain in the triple jump.
Then aged 15, in July 2008, Gemma developed a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). CRPS is a progressive nervous system disease - it affects the functioning of the nerves in Gemma's right leg, causing an altered sensation and extreme pain on a daily basis. Thinking she would never be able to take part in sport again she began coaching, officiating, and volunteering at sports events. It was whilst doing this that she discovered disability sport.
Whilst volunteering at the World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Birmingham in 2010, Gemma discovered that her condition qualified her to play wheelchair basketball and she joined her local club. Less than 6 months after taking up wheelchair basketball, she was selected to represent the Wales u25s team and had high hopes of one day making the GB team.
However, shortly after starting her law degree at Durham University in October 2011, whilst training for basketball Gemma was approached by Professor Laszlo Jakab, the former GB Wheelchair Fencing head coach.
Within three months Gemma was in the GB Wheelchair Fencing team and eleven months later she was representing Paralympics GB at the London 2012 Paralympic Games than on to the Rio Paralympic Games. Here Gemma broke into the world 'top ten' to become the first British woman ever to win a Wheelchair Fencing World Cup.
If you can help Gemma to continue her incredible journey, please get in touch.