YSPOTY 2013 nominees: Amy Marren Q&A

Amy Marren Amy Marren won gold in the IPC World Championships during the summer at the age of 14

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Amy Marren starred for Great Britain at the Paralympic World Swimming Championships in Montreal in August - despite only making her international debut less than two years earlier.

She won gold in the 200m individual medley, 100m butterfly, 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley and silver in the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke.

Her 200m victory came after she was disqualified in the heats but then reinstated for the final, which took place a day before her 15th birthday.

Here, Amy answers the questions set by the BBC News School Report team from The Morley Academy in Leeds.


Q: What's the biggest hurdle you have had to overcome?

A: My biggest hurdle to overcome does not seem very big now at all, but at the time it was huge. I joined the GB Team at 13 and I was a lot younger than most of the athletes. The biggest hurdle was definitely plucking up the courage to speak to them. I am very glad that I did now because I am fortunate to be on a very close-knit team where everybody gets along and the older athletes are always there for you, along with the sport staff to give you guidance or advice.

Who are the nominees?

Young Sports Personality of the Year 2013

Dina Asher-Smith

James Guy

Amber Hill

Charley Hull

Adnan Januzaj

Jessica Judd

Amy Marren

Rebekah Tiler

Isaac Towers

Kimberley Woods

Read more about shortlist

Q: Have you ever experienced discrimination in sport?

A: I haven't experienced any sort of discrimination is sport whatsoever. I have been raised in a nice area where everybody is seen for their ability to achieve other than their disability. Certainly where I live and where I go to school, discrimination is not accepted or seen as fair. If anything, the people with disabilities are looked up to more, especially since the Paralympics.

Q: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you take?

A: I would take my phone (and a permanent wifi signal just so that I have access to Twitter, Facebook etc), my pillow and I would make sure that I had pictures of my family.

Q: Do you have a limit on how far you would be willing to go to become successful?

A: I don't believe that you can ever put a limit on anything. I truly believe that as long as you are willing to work hard and as long as you enjoy what you do; anything is possible and anything is obtainable.

Q: How has your diet changed because of your sporting career?

A: I now eat a lot healthier than I used to. Two years ago I would never have dreamed of putting salad on my plate whereas now I understand a lot more how even the small changes can really benefit you! As well as this, because I travel abroad a lot more, I have to be willing to try new foods, for example, seafood paella- I would never have tried at home because I wouldn't have had the chance to.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

A: The best piece of advice has to have been from my Grandad. My Grandad passed away when I was three and even now, 12 years later, his phrase is still referred to on a regular basis in my house. "There is no such word as can't, only can". I could equally say however that every member of my family gives me advice, not just advice that could be applied too my swimming but general life advice. I am lucky that my family are close.

Q: What is your worst habit?

A: I would say my worst habit is spending too much time on my phone at home or constantly tapping my leg. My friends in school tell me off for it all the time!

Q: What's been your most embarrassing moment in sport?

A: I'm not even sure that I can pinpoint one embarrassing moment, from silly questions to bellyflop dives at competitions and everything in between. I've done it all! Everyone has dizzy moments and I am certainly no exception to that rule!

Q: Who is your current inspiration?

A: Ellie Simmonds has always been my inspiration, seeing her win two gold medals in Beijing inspired me to aim for the Paralympics. However, I feel that as I have got older and met more people, it is the everyday people that inspire me too. For example, I frequently visit primary schools and even the kids there manage to impress me in the most extraordinary ways.

Amy Marren Amy swam personal best times in all her races at the 2012 Paralympics

Q: What advice would you give to somebody starting out in your sport?

A: First and foremost: make sure you enjoy what you are doing. Ah well as this, aim high and don't ever underestimate yourself. Lastly, I would say that at points in your career it may seem like the end of the world, it will be tough but stay positive.

Q: If sport doesn't become your career, what would you like to go on and become?

A: At the minute, I do GCSE Law and I love it. The reason being that it is so interesting and in every lesson, you learn something new. Ideally, I would like to continue Law at University and establish a strong career around Law. However, I always keep my mind open because it could change 1000 times before then!

Q: How do you pick yourself up again after failing?

A: I talk to my parents a lot and they are there for me. I guess my secret to picking myself up after failing is just surrounding myself with strong, positive people who are always there for you. My parents, my Nan and my younger sister Georgia are exactly that.

Q: Did you enter the sport through chance or personal drive?

A: At the beginning, when I was first learning to swim; it was chance. I was learning to swim so that my parents were comfortable with me being in the water. It began a personal drive once I had seen Ellie [Simmonds] racing in Beijing, from that moment on, I have wanted to be a swimmer and I am working hard to still achieve my dreams.

Q: What sort of person were/are you at school?

A: I've always just been Amy at school. There were some celebrations after the Paralympics of course, and a few more people knew my name. Other than that I just try to be myself, just Amy, no celebrity, no different from anyone else, I swim that's all- just your average teenager.

Q: If you won the Young Sports Personality of the Year award, how would you celebrate?

A: I think that is up to my mum and dad really! If I was luckily enough to win, I imagine that we may go for a meal out as a family? I would choose Nando's personally. My family are all about 'staying grounded' so they wouldn't boost my ego too much by having a huge celebration. Plain and simple would do me and my family just fine!

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