Strange looking forward to her fourth Paralympics
Gary Baker on 24/06/2012
When Clare Strange suffered a life-changing accident in 1997, it would have been the furthest thing from her mind that one day she would become a sporting legend.
Strange fell off a horse while riding but was so determined that this would not signal the end of her life as a sportswoman that she searched to find something not that she could just do but excel at.
Which brought the woman whose mother hails from Bridgend to wheelchair basketball. The results ever since have spoken for themselves.
Strange will be in her fourth Paralympics this year, putting her nearly in the company of multiple Welsh competitors as Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and David Roberts.
And, although Strange has lived all her life across the border, she is proud of her Welsh heritage.
The 31-year-old said: "My mum, Carolyn, is Welsh and from Bridgend and my grandfather, Frank Jenkins, used to be the Dean of Newport Cathedral."
In fact, Frank Jenkins was not just involved with the St Woolos Cathedral in Newport but was actually Dean of Monmouth from 1976 to 1990.
Strange added: "My mum moved to London for work to take up a teaching position, having qualified from the University of Canterbury - and never went back.
"Being Welsh has always been part of my heritage and part of my growing up. I would like to think of myself as British rather than anything else. I'm also part English and part Welsh, and the Welsh side is probably where I get my fire from," she laughed.
That ferocious drive is an attribute that Britain will certainly need this August and September if they are to land a Paralympic wheelchair basketball medal that they are more than capable of achieving.
Over the years, Britain has lagged behind other global powers in the sport, but now everything is wide open.
Strange added: "In Beijing (Paralympics four years ago), you would put money on Germany and the USA in the final, with the USA taking it - which is how it was.
"But now the USA and Germany are not quite as strong as they were and other countries are coming up. So we are right in the pot and that's superb."
The British team are in exhaustive training for the Paralympics even though they are still two months away.
She admits, though, that they need to tighten their shooting up from the recent World Cup. That was the one aspect of their game which let them down.
If so, then Britain are not just contenders for a medal but the big one of the lot - gold - in front of their own crowd. That would be something special as well.
Strange, whose mother also lived in Risca, Gwent, before moving down the M4, added: "I cannot wait for it.
"I'm so looking forward to say that I have played in my home Games. There are not that many athletes who will be able to say that - and it has happened in my career, to play in London.
"There are always going to be pressures on you, though, and you have to perform. But I have played on the other side of it in front of 10,000 Chinese people in the Beijing Paralympics and, although it was very hard for us, it was inspirational for the Chinese in that the crowd roared every time they scored.
"That is what we are expecting for us when we go to London."
And a medal - at best, a golden one - would put the cherry on the cake of a sparkling career for a brave woman who turned tragedy into one glorious triumph.
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