Hollie Arnold throws for gold at Paralympic Games
HOLLIE Arnold insists she is primed and ready to come of age at London 2012 tonight – by delivering a Paralympic medal.
The youngster from Holton-le-Clay was just a wide-eyed 14-year-old girl on her Games debut in front of 90,000 Chinese fans at the Beijing Games in 2008.
Fast forward four years and Arnold insists she's a completely different athlete as she prepares for her moment of truth – this evening's F46 javelin final at the Olympic Stadium.
The former Cleethorpes Athletic Club member has since relocated to South Wales to be nearer her coach.
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Now 18, she is ranked second in the world having thrown a javelin personal best of 35.88m to win the Welsh Championships in June.
And the youngster admits she can't wait to show the world how far she has come since Beijing.
"This summer is the beginning of my dream really," she said.
"Beijing should have been but it was perhaps running before I could walk – this time I'm arriving knowing I can win medals if I throw well.
"My main aim is to get a medal, but I think everyone's is.
"I just want to come away from the Games knowing I have done everything I could have done, and that I'm happy with everything I did.
"I was only 14 when I went to Beijing, so I was a bit too young to appreciate what was really going on. This time around has been completely different.
"It's a reality now, it's all starting to hit home and I'm very, very excited. I've done all this hard training and I just want to make people proud."
Arnold stands to make 80,000 occupants of the Olympic Stadium – including Louth's Cordeaux School – very proud this evening.
She added: "I don't think the big crowd is going to be too much of an issue. That was one of the main things I learnt in Beijing – that was a crowd of 90,000 people," she added.
"It was a scary memory, because they weren't cheering for me, they were cheering for the Chinese athletes.
"In London, it's going to be the opposite, which makes you a mixture of scared and happy at the same time, because it's a lot of pressure but it's great that so many people want you to do well.
"My old school in Louth, Cordeaux, got in touch with me recently too. About 80-120 people from the school have got tickets, and they're going to come down to watch me so that's really amazing.
"I have no idea who exactly it is, teachers or former pupils, but I don't really care because it's such a nice gesture."
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