reblogged from Get Surrey authored by Charlie Talbot-Smith
November 23, 2012.
The 16-year-old swimmer won three medals at the London 2012 Paralympics – 400m freestyle silver plus 100m backstroke and 100m butterfly bronze – while also passing her GCSEs with flying colours this year.
Chertsey-born Russell, who was presented with her accolade by 11-time Paralympic champion Sarah Storey, admitted receiving it was a fantastic way to round off the best year of her life.
“I’m so proud to have won this award,” said Russell. “It really has been an unbelievable year, probably the best of my life all things considered.
“First of all I did my GCSEs and got some great results – one A*, four Bs and three Cs – then I went to London and had an amazing Paralympics with one silver and two bronzes.
“And to top it all off with this award is just amazing and the most important thing I can do is thank everyone who has helped and supported me on the journey to get to this point.”
But, despite a year to remember, Russell’s thoughts are already turning to the future and the Rio 2016 Games where she is desperate to climb the top step of the podium.
“In my head I am already planning for Rio where my goal is to start upgrading my medals to gold, that’s the next big goal for me,” she added.
“But in the short term I still have two years at school and I will keep training and working hard in order to build on what I have already accomplished.
“The World Championships in Canada are something I am definitely targeting for next year, that is a good chance for me to continue my progression.
“Gold medals are obviously the next ambition for me but the competition is so tough so I know that I need to keep working hard and improving.”
The Aviva and Daily Telegraph School Sport Matters Awards recognise outstanding achievements in school sport across the country, and are part of Aviva’s wider commitment to support the next generation of British sporting talent. For more information go to www.aviva.co.uk/rugby-sponsorship.