A 19-YEAR-OLD student is making her final preparations to represent Team GB in the Paralympics having only taken up her sport less than a year ago.

Gemma Collis, who studies Law at Durham University, will be aiming for wheelchair fencing gold when the games start on 4th September. Gemma had been hoping to represent her country in the triple jump at this summer’s Olympic Games but after being diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy two years ago, she chose a new sport with which to follow her ambition.

She said, “I couldn’t quite believe it when I got the news that I’d been selected for the squad.

“When I started fencing in November 2011, I never would have thought I’d be in this position now. I can’t stop smiling.”

“It’d become a secret dream as selection got closer and my results continued to improve, but I’d never really expected to be selected.

The opportunity to compete on the sport’s biggest stage in front of a home crowd is also something that Gemma is looking forward to. She said, “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I just can’t wait. I feel incredibly proud to have been selected to represent Great Britain.

“I expect the atmosphere will be unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. I think it’ll be electric.”

She is also hoping that with the majority of the crowd being British, the extra support she will receive can inspire her to further success. Gemma added, “It will be really uplifting to know that the vast majority of the crowd is rooting for you and cheering you on.”