Guernsey Press

Listen: Para-athlete Sophie Veron on her mission to inspire others

Being unable to ride a bike or run did not stop Sophie Veron from completing a triathlon and half marathon on successive weekends last month.

Sophie Veron, supported by Caroline Barby on the right, was the only wheelchair competitor in last month's Butterfield Half Marathon. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32645154)

Having since then also taken part in an adapted runway ride, the para-athlete has not let issues relating to scoliosis and hydrocephalus (water on the brain) stop her participating in sport – even if it means using a racing wheelchair or tricycle.

Veron now hopes others can follow a similar path.

Speaking on the Guernsey Press Sport Podcast alongside Active 8 inclusion officer Caroline Barby, she emphasised the benefits of doing such events.

‘With the half, there was so much great support and even though I was doing it in a wheelchair, I felt part of it,’ Veron said.

  • Listen to the full interview with Sophie Veron and Caroline Barby on this week's Guernsey Press Sport Podcast

‘Everyone was super-supportive. I think it’s just good to get out and do stuff.

‘So many people just stay home and don’t do anything, like think they can’t do anything, when really they can.

‘It doesn’t have to be competitive level. It literally can just be really grassroots, chilled-out level of sport.’

Barby is striving to improve inclusivity for potential para-athletes, which she thinks is happening ‘one step at a time’.

‘Organisations like Try A Tri have been inclusive from the get-go – as much as they can, they’ve really adapted things.

‘It’s like everything, isn’t it? The first steps are really the slow ones.

‘And then when people start to see what’s happening or people start to come out of the woodwork and say, “I want to try that, I want to try that,” then suddenly you’re getting momentum and you’ve got more people involved and more participants, which is the key thing.’