Rolling Without Limits

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Athlete Excels on Wheelchair
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Athlete Excels on Wheelchair

Her life has been full of physical challenges, being someone who was born with a congenital defect. But she never gave up on her dream of becoming an athlete. She is even eyeing a place at the next Olympics.

You would often see Robyn Love wearing a tracksuit, holding a ball, and smiling cheerfully. She displays her basketball skills in the court with great enthusiasm and joy. She plays like a pro making you forget that she is on a wheelchair.

Robyn, now 24 years old, was born with a rare congenital condition known as arthrogryposis multiplex congenita or AMC. The condition is characterized by congenital joint contractures or joint shortening in two or more areas in the body, and in Robyn’s case, her legs. She could not straighten her right leg and her left leg is missing some essential muscles causing it to shorten. AMC occurs when the umbilical cord aimlessly wraps itself around the fetus’ legs which disrupt its growth.

In her teens, she endured several painful surgical operations just to try to correct her congenital defect. The surgeries aimed to lengthen her right leg so that Robyn could walk with less difficulty.

Despite the operations, Robyn would still walk with a limp on one leg and a slight drag on the other. Her life has been a struggle; she wanted her body to do the things she loves, especially sports.

But her condition did not slow her down. She never even thought of quitting on anything she had her hands on no matter how difficult it was. Instead, she continues to do things she loves especially sports and tries to just shake off that disability.

She has already played different athletic games like tennis and netball. She displayed her skills alongside able-bodied partners, teammates and rivals. Her disability could not stop her from getting into the sports arena.

When Robyn studied bio-medical sciences in Edinburgh University, her love for sports led her to join the university’s basketball team. She was happily playing the sport on her feet but she could not just jump and shoot. Seeing the desire to become a basketball player, her coach suggested trying the wheelchair-based version of the game.

She gave it a go and joined the come-and-try day of Lothian Phoenix, a wheelchair basketball club based in Scotland, wherein Tina Gordon from Sport Scotland was observing the games.

Robyn displayed great upper body strength, will and determination to be better at the sport, and promising skills to play a good game, and for that, Tina took interest of her. Her potential was something that could not be ignored.

Before 2013 ended, Tina was already training Robyn. She even bought her a wheelchair so that she could get accustomed to playing the game with the mobility device.

In January 2014, Robyn played her first game in the basketball court in England wherein she made 16 points that led her team to win. After that, she became one of the competent and skillful members of Lothian Phoenix.

But Tina saw something more and so she told the Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball Team about Robyn. It is the organization responsible for looking, selecting and training of the team that will represent the country in international tournaments, which include Games of the Paralympiad and the World Championships.

Today, Robyn is joining training camps and other programmes for athletes hosted and conducted by the GB Team. And by February the next year, she will be playing for GB in Japan for the Osaka Cup.

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