BROMSGROVE wheelchair racer Lauren Rowles has swapped the exam hall for the track after being selected to represent England at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
The 16-year-old is the youngest member of the athletics squad picked to race in the T53 1500 metres.
She’s only just completed her GCSE exams at North Bromsgrove High School but, while all of her school friends will be contemplating a summer of fun, Rowles is aiming to take on some of the world’s best.
“I had to take some time off do my GCSEs,” commented the teenager.
“But I have been working hard to make sure I am ready.
“There is a lot of competition and I don’t expect to win a medal but I would be delighted to make the final.
“I am really nervous but my racing starts a week into the Games, so I will be able to get used to the atmosphere, which I think will help.”
Lauren has been inspirational after being affected by paralysing illness transverse myelitis, a rare disease of the central nervous system.
A member of University of Warwick wheelchair racing club, she has not allowed her illness to stop her from succeeding in sport.
She won the U17 Girls three-mile race at the Virgin London Mini Marathon in April and was presented with her trophy by diver Tom Daley.
With able-bodied and Paralympic athletes competing at the same time during the sporting extravaganza in Scotland, she’s aware that she will be performing to the biggest audience possible.
She added: “With my illness sometimes it is harder to train and prepare but you have to power through all of that if you want to be the best.
“When you see how successful the London Paralympics were and what an impact they had, it’s great to be competing for one of the home nations.”
Rowles will also represent Great Britain in the International Wheelchair Amputees Sports Federation (IWAS) World Junior Games this summer.
She will be competing in the 400m, 800m and 1500m in Stoke Mandeville.