Paralympic long jump champion Vanessa Low will return to the World Para-athletics Grand Prix circuit when the series kicks off in Dubai, UAE, on Sunday (24 February).
The German-born star, who now represents Australia, is in good form ahead of her highly anticipated Grand Prix appearance, after setting a new world record (4.91m) in the women’s long jump T61 at this week’s Sharjah Open.
“It’s going to be great to get that experience again, and go out and meet my competitors and be in a proper competition environment,” Low said. “I’m now ready to show everyone what I’ve been working on.”
Starting from scratch
Low will return to competition for the first time in two years, after taking time out to recover from a stress fracture to her back – a decision which she believes has paid off.
“I had the chance to work on all my weaknesses, and work on having correct balance across my hips, which has always been the biggest disadvantage I had,” Low said.
“I literally started learning how to walk properly from scratch. I worked closely with physiotherapists, focussing on getting fully healthy, not just for sport, but actually for life.
“I’m getting through training much easier now. In the past it has been really challenging to get through big training blocks. I wasn’t able to do a lot of long jump sessions as my body wouldn’t tolerate it.
“Now, having put in all the effort in being balanced and healthy, I feel like I can show up every day at training and actually improve.”
Green and gold
Low married Paralympic gold medallist Scott Reardon last October, and is now training under his esteemed coach, Iryna Dvoskina, in Canberra.
“It’s been fantastic, it’s like a little family,” she said. “Iryna’s like our second Mum and she treats us like her children. We spend basically every day with each other. We are really fortunate to be in this system [at the Australian Institute of Sport] with the group of people that we have.”
As for her status as an Australian national, Low is proud to represent her new country.
“Scott and I have a really great life here and I’m really grateful for the opportunity that I’ve got to represent my new home.
“One of the reasons Scott and I decided to continue post-Rio [the 2016 Paralympic Games] was because we now have the chance to do it together, and travel together, and enjoy the last bit of our careers together.”
By World Para-athletics