After making the podium at the past two Paralympic Games, Great Britain’s Lucy Shuker is hoping to upgrade her medal and go all the way in Tokyo, writes Nicola Kenton.
The wheelchair tennis player won bronze in the women’s doubles with Jordanne Whiley at the London and Rio Games, but 2019 proved a rollercoaster year on court for the 39-year-old who struggled to maintain form in the singles.
With the Tokyo Olympics creeping ever closer, Shuker is determined to get back on top of her singles game, but the ultimate aim would be to come back home with that elusive doubles gold.
“I’m in a position where my singles ranking is not as good as my doubles ranking,” said Shuker.
“But I think it also reflects maybe where I’ve been creating a new team and a new set up.
“There’s been some disappointing singles results and yet in the doubles results, I’m number six in the world and that’s been awesome.
“So, looking ahead to Tokyo I’d like to try and get back up in the singles rankings and be a seeded position going there.
“But ultimately I think Jordi [Whiley] and I have the ability to push for a gold medal there and go for it so that’s something really exciting.
“It’s a real honour to represent ParalympicsGB and I think I’m also in the best place possible to maybe achieve a gold medal and hear the GB anthem on the podium which for me would be the ultimate dream come true.”
Winning bronze at the two previous Paralympic Games was not an easy journey for Shuker and Whiley, as the duo battled back in their match in 2012 while Whiley had a severe wrist injury in 2016.
Shuker may now have Tokyo success firmly in her sights but winning her first Paralympic medal in front of her home crowd is something she will never forget.
“London has got to be my most memorable experience,” added Shuker.
“The whole country absolutely smashed it in terms of the way that the Games were held and the support we had from the whole nation.
“The team itself, we did unbelievably well, but for Jordi and I to come back from two match points down to actually win a medal in a three-hour match was unbelievable.
“I think being on that podium is one of my ultimate memories that I’ll always treasure.”
Sainsbury’s is the longest-standing supporter of ParalympicsGB and a champion of inclusive sport for all. Sainsbury’s commitment to helping customers live well for less has been at the heart of what we do since 1869. For more information on Sainsbury’s commitment to inclusive sport visit https://www.about.sainsburys.co.uk/