UEL’s Wild aiming for improvements

UEL sports scholar Ann Wild

UEL sports scholar Ann Wild - Credit: Archant

Sports scholar drawing on Paralympic experiences

When most athletes retire they are probably looking forwarding to relaxing with an occasional guest appearance at an awards ceremony or sports show.

There aren’t many who decide to take up a completely different sport and promptly excel in their new discipline.

But most athletes are not Ann Wild - the five-time Paralympic wheelchair basketball player turned Disability Target Shooter.

Wild, who is studying at UEL for an MSc in Sport Psychology, first competed for the GB women’s wheelchair basketball team the tender age of 14, at the Paralympics in Seoul in 1988.

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After further appearances at the Games in Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000), Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008) Wild ended her career as captain of the GB wheelchair basketball team and was awarded an OBE in 2010 for her services to the sport.

But Wild was then once more called into Paralympic action as she joined Channel 4 to commentate on the women’s wheelchair basketball matches at the London 2012 Games.

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As an elite athlete, Team GB was reluctant to let Ann go and suggested she consider a change of sport. This prompted her switch to disability target shooting in which she is now ranked number one nationally and is rapidly climbing the international rankings also.

Accepting the scholarship at UEL was an easy choice for Wild, who said: “I think UEL is just a fantastic campus, it’s a wonderful place to be and work.

“To be linked with the Paralympics last year was amazing. The campus here in Docklands is absolutely outstanding - I don’t think I have been to a more world-class arena in my time in the UK.

“With the scholarship, I am looking to enhance my skills and push myself forward and also start training elite level athletes. Making them reach their potential the way that I have had that opportunity.

“I’m hoping to bring to UEL a little bit of interest in disability sport, some humour, some entertainment and maybe to challenge a few perceptions.”

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