Sporting Achievement

TRIUMPH in the face of adversity.

That’s the story of Heather Richardson who just refuses to beaten by injury, even when it happens to her repeatedly.

Heather Richardson pictured with Steven Wilkinson of Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

Heather Richardson pictured with Steven Wilkinson of Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

Yet even though she’s a champion in every way, she was still astonished that she’d been chosen as a Pride of Hartlepool winner in the Sporting Achievement category.

“I didn’t expect this at all. I am so surprised,” said the determined teenager from Seaton Lane, Hartlepool, who fought back from three devastating setbacks to win medals at international swimming championships.

First in 2011, she slipped over at a gala in Sunderland and broke her left wrist yet still trained every session she could with waterproof covers which were held on with tape.

Then she qualified for the Scottish national swimming championships, just 10 days after having her cast removed, before slipping again at a swimming gala in Whitley Bay which meant she needed another pot on her left wrist,

Somehow, she still managed to do some training for three hours a week, but the worst was still to come. The 17-year-old was left needing a pin and four screws inserted into her thigh bone which was snapped in a road smash in January, last year.

Remarkably, only six weeks after her operation, Heather was back in the water even though she still walked with crutches and in pain.

She admitted: “It is sometimes really difficult to stay positive but I love swimming so much. It is all worth it when you get success.”