Britain’s most successful Paralympian wants more women to take up sports

By Ellie Spark

Menna Fitzpatrick shared her own experience as both a woman and someone with a disability, at an International Women’s Day workshop hosted by Disability Sport Wales at the Bike Lock Café.

Fitzpatrick is visually impaired and Britain’s most decorated winter Paralympian, with a collection of medals from her 11 years in the sport, alpine skiing.

Photo by Kate Bryony

This includes a silver from the 2022 Beijing Paralympic Winter Games, a gold from 2021 World Championships and a bronze from PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympics. Which she says is her favourite medal because, “after falling in the first event, and having to pick myself back up, and gain all the teamwork and trust, I really didn’t want to carry on, so when I came across the finish line, I was just excited to finish, and I didn’t actually realise I won bronze. It was just a lovely bonus!”

She was born visually impaired, but her parents were told “to treat me like any other able-bodied kid, so let me fall over and then, wait ten seconds to see if I can pick myself back up, and that was a skill I have carried with me throughout my life.’ 

Learning to ski when she was just 5 years old, she would ski behind her dad on family holidays. And at the age of 12 went completive as she was ‘hooked on the sport’. And that is where her journey began.

After her talk she displayed her medals and the audience got to take photos and chat to her.

Photo by Ellie Spark

And then 2 other guest speakers took to the stage. Lora Roberts a chiropractor and USW lecturer, who spoke about women prone injuries and how they can be avoided.

And Pippa Britain a Paralympian archer of 15 years, told us the struggles she faced in her life and throughout her career. Sharing tips and ways she kept motivated during times of doubt and loneliness. Which she didn’t let bring her down as she told her about her career as an athlete. 

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