Monday, 8 August 2011

Keri-Anne: the first of many

Swimmer Keri-Anne Payne cemented her place in London 2012 last week when she won gold in the 10k open water event at the World Championships in Shanghai.

Despite having to deal with flying limbs, scorching temperatures peaking at over 30c, Keri-Anne ploughed her way through to become the first of 550 athletes to represent the UK next summer.

Making a splash: Keri-Anne is bucking the GB trend ahead of 2012 
Keri-Anne is regarded by many to be the poster girl of British swimming - and with good reason.

But what do we know of our young Olympian?

She was born in Johannesburg, moving to Britain at 13 when her parents decided to return home.

Now settled in Stockport, the 23-year old is engaged to long-term boyfriend David Carry - a fellow swimmer.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Keri-Anne won silver in the inaugural 10k race, while a year later, she grabbed her first world championship gold in Rome.

Add to this last week's success, and the 23 year old's achievements to date are staggering.

The wave she is riding at the minute shows no sign of abating. In October she travels to Delhi for the Commonwealth Games. Here she will look to conquer the 200m and 400m indoor races, a far cry from her long-distance endurance tests.
And with Keri-Anne already the English record holder for the 200m and 400m individual medley, she has already demonstrated she is able to juggle the severe differences between endurance swimming and the sprints.

Many top athletes have already withdrawn from Delhi. World heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis and her British rival Kelly Sotherton are out, while the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, is yet to decide.

Bucking the trend is commendable, but it awaits to be seen whether Keri-Anne has made the correct decision, as burn-out is a possibility with the countdown to London well under way.

But it would be wrong to question the decision making of a born winner, an athlete who knows how far they can push their body, in a career that has so far yielded so much.

With less than a year until the greatest sporting event arrives on our doorstep, 2012 promises to be a massive year for British sport and Kerri-Anne is all set to play her part.

No comments: