Tokyo Paralympics: Ellie Robinson's 'story of triumph not defeat'

3 months ago 16
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I am proud and happy to tell my story - Robinson
Venue: Tokyo, Japan Dates: 24 August-5 September Time in Tokyo: BST +8
Coverage: Follow on Radio 5 Live and on the BBC Sport website

Ellie Robinson celebrated her fifth-place finish at the Tokyo Paralympics as a "story of triumph not defeat" in a powerful post-race interview.

Competing in the women's S6 butterfly final on her 20th birthday, Robinson started strongly but missed out on a bronze by a quarter of a second.

World record holder Jiang Yuyan of China took gold, Ireland's Nicole Turner was second and American Elizabeth Marks third.

Robinson - a Paralympic gold and bronze medallist in Rio, aged 15 - revealed in an emotional interview the struggle she had gone through just to get to the postponed 2020 Games.

"There have been so many times where I have said, 'If I have to crawl to the block on my hands and knees I will do it'," she told Channel 4 after the race.

"I have been in agony this whole year, and this is a story of triumph, not a story of defeat.

"I've spoken to physios in the past year and they have said we have no idea how you will carry on swimming."

Robinson was diagnosed with Perthes disease in her right hip in 2012 - a condition affecting the hip joint in children - and revealed how arthritis in the joint left her unable to swim between November 2020 and the World Para Swimming European Open Championships in May this year.

"I like to imagine a Perthes hip has got a finite amount of time left and I just ran out of time. If the Games had been last year, it would have been a completely different story.

"But with lockdown and the extra year, the adaptation with training - it took its toll on my hip. I had two failed injections, I tried different medications, nothing would work.

"I was at a really low point in my life, struggling so much, seeing a psychiatrist, I was on medication. It has been one of the hardest years of my life."

'What threatens to weaken you will not conquer you'

Robinson stopped training after her diagnosis in 2012, but returned to the pool in 2014, making her international debut for Great Britain a year later.

She won three bronze medals and a silver in the 2016 European championships before going on to win the gold in the S6 butterfly in Rio and a bronze in the S6 100m freestyle.

"I honestly thought I would be more upset than this, but I came here to make the final, and I am still in the top five," Robinson added.

"People have been saying, 'It is OK to finish, you don't have to carry on'. And I said, 'I am not finishing this way, it is not going to end this way'.

"So even though I didn't medal, I can still say I ended on my own terms, I went out the way I wanted to."

"This is just showing people that what threatens to weaken you will not conquer you, you will overcome it to end on your own terms, you are in control.

"I proved that I am in control of when I finish, I am not being told when I finish. I proved to myself I can overcome challenge, and I am so glad that I did."

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