14:23 05 September 2012
Danielle Brown won Britain’s 20th gold medal in the Paralympics in a nail-biting final. Brown, a vivacious blonde archer from North Yorkshire, suffers from reflex sympathetic dystrophy or RSD, a neurological disorder that causes her constant agony in her feet. Her acute discomfort has been likened to a terminal illness.
On Tuesday, however, all thoughts of her condition were pushed aside when she won the Paralympic gold medal for her archery event.
Brown described how she felt, as quoted by The Telegraph: “The pain was still there in the back of my mind. But my focus switched to shooting arrows.”
The 24-year-old defeated the other contestants in five sets, marking a successful defence of her world title. This also makes her the three-time world-record holder, with the first record set by her victory at the Beijing Paralympics four years ago.
Her toughest competition this year came in the person of Mel Clarke, who was able to match her arrow for arrow during the first two sets.
It took until the third round for Brown to gain the lead, but two 10s from Clarke during the fourth row brought the competition to a decider. Under severe pressure and with no thoughts of pain in her mind, Brown was able to produce three nines, landing her the win.
Brown later admitted that being the crowd favourite also put a lot of pressure on her.
She told The Telegraph: “Everyone expects me to win and I do, too. It had been playing with my head, but I’ve been working with a psychologist and she got me through, shot by shot.”
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