SUCH is Chichester wheelchair fencer Viv Mills’ devotion to her sport that she has even resorted to training in her own driveway at times this year.
But the 57-year-old insists the hard times will have been worth it if she can seal a spot at London 2012.
Mills enjoyed a less-than-ideal European Championships in Sheffield and with her preferred sabre discipline not on the Olympic schedule things looked bleak for the ex-policewoman.
But the former chief superintendent is made of sterner stuff and has devoted herself to the sport despite the obstacles fate has thrown her way this year.
Her regular training centre in Bognor shut, and with all the other arenas in the vicinity unavailable, Mills and her coach have been forced to lock swords in her own driveway.
But Mills insists that with less than two years’ fencing experience under her belt she can only improve with a year to go until the London 2012 Paralympics.
“I’ve just returned from the Europeans in Sheffield which didn’t exactly go to plan – the result we achieved as a team was below what we had hoped,” she said.
“But there’s still more to come this year. I’m going to Hungary for a World Cup and then the world championships in Italy so that’s a great chance to test yourself against the best.
“And it’s all good preparation for London 2012 and I need a big few competitions after a pretty slow start to the year.
“London 2012 is probably going to be my one and only opportunity. My age is creeping up and I don’t know if I can make it to 2016 because it’s hard work.
“It’s important to get your training right for London so that you’re peaking at the right time but that has been very difficult this year.
“I have actually had to train in my own driveway for part of this year but that’s how much this means to me - it has made life very difficult but the neighbours certainly enjoyed it.”
Mills’ best discipline is the sabre but she was forced to give it up at the start of the year and focus on her epee and foil in preparation for London.
But the results have not come and the 57-year-old has now opted to reintroduce the sabre to boost her own confidence, a tactic she is sure will bear fruit in the long term.
“It was really bad news when they took the sabre out and I had to remove it from my training schedule to try and focus on the foil but I didn’t enjoy it,” she added.
“I started from scratch and really struggled and that just affected my epee in a bad way. So this year I have brought the sabre back in and at the worlds I’m hoping to do well in it – and that should give me more confidence and get the adrenalin going for the epee in London 2012.”
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