Shelly Woods is one of Great Britain’s best young talents for the Paralympic Games in London this summer, recently qualifying in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and marathon. After winning the London Marathon in March earlier this year Shelly is determined to go one step further than her performance in Beijing and bring home a truly deserved gold medal.
Shelly suffered a spinal cord Injury (T12-L1) from a 20ft fall from a tree aged 11. She was always an active youngster and after her accident she decided to sample a few sports such as wheelchair basketball and swimming but she enjoyed wheelchair athletics the most.
In 2004 at only 18 years of age, Shelly started to make a name for herself with some exceptional performances in road races - 2nd in the Great North Run, 2nd in the Manchester Run and 1st in the Mini London Marathon, setting a new course record. After her achievements on the road, Shelly tried track racing in the 800m, 1500m and 5000m and in her first season on track was selected to represent Great Britain.
In 2005 Shelly continued to progress rapidly winning the Great North Run and finishing 2nd in the Great Manchester Run and the London Marathon. She was the first British athlete to cross the finish line in all these events. Not only excelling on the road, Shelly also had good performances on track, winning Bronze at the European Championships in the 5000m.
In 2007 Shelly won the Los Angeles marathon, the London Marathon and the NYC 10km and paved the way to her performance at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing where she competed in more events than any other female athlete, coming away with Silver in the 1500m and Bronze in the 5000m. She was thrilled with these results from her first Paralympic Games. She finished 2009 ranked World No. 1 on the track for the 5000m and claimed 2nd place in the New York City Marathon. Throughout 2010 Shelly has become increasingly faster, even managing to break Tanni Grey-Thompson’s long standing British Record in the 400m.
2011 was a successful year for Shelly and she built on her previous successes. She came 2nd in both the London and New York marathons, in the latter finishing ahead of American Tatyana McFadden. Shelly also started to work with a new coach, Peter Eriksson, who is working with her to increase her speed and strength.
To find out more about Shelly at the Paralympics.