She has already competed at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio and at a World Championships in London a year later – but for teenager Polly Maton it’s her selection for Berlin this week that tops the charts.
The 18-year-old has experienced a traumatic preparation for the European Championships in Germany, juggling A-Level preparation with a hectic training schedule.
Maton has been forced to cut down extensively on her training, miss competitions and hit the books – but the British Paralympian, who will compete in the T47 long jump, T47 100m and the 4x100m mixed relay – admits she is still confident of success in Germany.
The teenager thanked British Athletics for having faith in her performances and selecting her for Germany despite missing so much of the season and not posting consistent distances and times on the track in 2018.
“I’m always honoured when I am selected to compete for Britain,” said Maton. “And this year I feel particularly privileged and honoured because my preparation has been less than perfect with my A-Levels.
“Taking my exams in June has really messed up my preparations and the competitions have been able to take part in ahead of August.
“I am hugely grateful to British Athletics for believing in me and selecting me regardless. Now I’d like to repay their faith in Germany.
“Juggling competition and life – this has probably been the hardest so far. My GCSE year was also difficult, but this has been harder – no doubt. Rio was also difficult, but I think A-Levels are bigger and slightly scarier.
“During my exams I took four weeks completely off training, which was not ideal and during the buildup I had to cut down as well.
“It was frustrating for me and my coach – but it was essential to cut down to get some good grades.
“I like the balance of having work and sport – you always one to fall back on if it’s not going as well as you’d like. There are pinch points and it’s difficult, but I enjoy having a dual perspective – it’s important.”
Maton dismissed suggestions her European Championship debut appearance would be an after-thought after already having competed at Paralympic Games and World Championship level.
The teenager missed the last European Championships in 2016 as they clashed with her GCSE studies and now she is determined to make up for lost time and claim some silverware in Germany.
“I think it’s going to be very competitive,” added Maton. “The bulk of my main competitors are European and so it’s going to be difficult.
“I have competed in Germany before and I am looking forward to getting back there; it has always been special.
“I might have competed at a Paralympic Games and a World Championships – but this is still a major champ and you need to prepare in the right way.
“It’s very competitive in Britain just to make the team and so I know I will need to perform well in Germany. It is slightly strange to have done a Paralympics and then a Worlds before competing on the European stage – but I just need to get on with it.
“I missed out on the last European Championships because my GCSEs were taking place at the same time and so I guess I have so making up to do for that.”
British Athletics works alongside UK Sport and the National Lottery to support the delivery of success at the world’s most significant sporting events, principally the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They do this via the funded initiative, the World Class Programme, one part of the British Athletics pathway.