McGuinness targeting Paralympic gold after Peaty inspiration

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Lottie McGuinness has been inspired by Adam Peaty on her weightlifting journey.
Lottie McGuinness has been inspired by Adam Peaty on her weightlifting journey.

By Tom Masters, Sportsbeat

ADAM Peaty might have inspired a generation of kids to start swimming but it’s a Harrogate weightlifter who is perhaps his biggest fan of all.

Lottie McGuinness also started her sporting journey in the pool but ditched the goggles in 2019 when she tried weightlifting at the Dwarf Games.

And the 20-year-old now has her sights set on Paralympic gold, all with a little help from Team GB’s three-time Olympic champion.

It's been a rapid rise for McGuinness who, barely a year after being spotted, found herself competing in the World Championships in Manchester in what she described as a “whirlwind” experience.

Now, she is targeting Paralympic glory at Paris 2024 and, with the help of swimming superstar Peaty’s book Gladiator Mindset, she believes she is capable of achieving such targets.

“That would be amazing to win Paralympic gold,” said McGuinness, who has been selected to be part of the Team England Futures programme with Commonwealth Games England and SportsAid.

“My current goal is to attend every session with the same intent, drive and willpower and keep on top of everything, whether it be uni, social life, or the sport itself.

“I’ve been reading Adam Peaty's book, and he says, if you want your goal to become a reality, you need to persuade your mind to believe it will.

“So, you need to be saying what you want to be, for example, he used to say to himself, ‘I will be Olympic champion and the world record holder’ numbers of times and obviously he’s done that now.

“I used to always say to myself, never say it'll happen because what if an injury pops up? But why am I thinking like that?

“I could be, and I will be a Paralympic champion or world record holder. But I've got to have that drive and willingness each session and make each set and rep count in order to do it.”

The Team England Futures programme will see over 1,000 talented young athletes and aspiring support staff given the opportunity to attend the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, watch live sporting action and take a first-hand look behind-the-scenes.

The programme seeks to better prepare athletes to deliver medal-winning performances as either Team England, Team GB or ParalympicsGB debutants at future Games, while also giving support staff a first-hand look at the opportunities they could be presented with, as well as challenges they may face, at a multi-sport competition.

Like many in the UK, McGuinness’ first sporting idol was Paralympic legend Ellie Simmonds.

And it was a meeting with Simmonds that changed McGuinness’ outlook on life after going through a tough time when making the transition between primary and secondary school.

She said: “I got into swimming by watching Ellie at the Paralympics and then I started at my local club, and it all went from there in a way.

“However, in my final year of primary school and in early secondary school, I went through a really negative time, refusing to go to school and feeling very unhappy about myself and who I am.

“It was just me realising I won't be average height, I won't be as tall as most people, I’ll stand out in a crowd.

“It made me very low and I just didn't want to go out and be around others.

“I used to be at school with the school nurse and she wrote to Ellie explaining my situation.

“She just said come to the Dwarf Games, I'll meet you, and then she kind of inspired me by just showing what she can do and what she's done despite dwarfism, and that I could do the same.

“And I think she really just inspired me to keep on going and keep on focusing and knowing that anything is possible. I take that into weightlifting too. I believe in myself.”

Commonwealth Games England has appointed SportsAid to lead on the development, management and operational delivery of Team England Futures at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. You can find out more about the programme by visiting https://www.sportsaid.org.uk/partnerships/team-england-futures/.

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