Para sprint star sets sights on Rio

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A Bedford Modern schoolgirl has set her sights on the Rio 2016 Paralympics after becoming one of the UK’s fastest female 100m sprinters.

Julie Rogers has put in impressive times over the distance after swapping to athletics from the Paralympic volleyball team just one year ago – and receiving a pioneering prosthetic knee system.

She said: “I have a real love of sport and enjoy pushing myself. After playing volleyball, I really wanted to try out other things. I really enjoy running and with this elite bit of kit I will be able to fulfil my potential.”

The young athlete was born with a congenital disorder and aged five she had an operation to shorten her leg in order to be able to use an above-the-knee prosthetic limb.

She has been given a state-of-the art prosthetic running system by Ottobock and full support from PACE Rehabilitation, which takes care of adjustments and fittings as she grows.

She said: “Ottobock and PACE believe in my potential and I am incredibly grateful to them for their support.”

Next week Julie will be competing in the IWAS World Junior Games at Stoke Mandeville and is expected to be in contention for a medal. Her current personal best time for the 100m sprint is 17:54 seconds which would put her 5th in the world rankings this year.

She is no stranger to competing at the highest level after being the youngest member of the sitting volleyball squad at London 2012 when she was just 13.

This summer, Julie put in two-to-three track training sessions and gym sessions a week while studying for GCSEs next year.

She said: “I take my studies very seriously, and they are my main priority.

“Sport is one thing but I need good A Levels and university to fall back on.”