Suzannah aiming to qualify for fourth Paralympic Games

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BURNLEY’S Suzannah Rockett insists she’s more than ready for the pressure at this week’s World Fencing Championships as the battle for London 2012 selection comes to a head in Italy.

Rockett is no stranger to the rigours and the nerves of Paralympic selection having qualified for, and appeared at, three previous Games.

However with the former Primrose Hill School pupil now the wrong side of 40 and with the sport having evolved year on year, the social worker is by no means guaranteed her berth in the capital next year.

A huge factor in her participation comes at next week’s World Championships in Sicily with crucial qualification points available.

And with that in mind Rockett, who fences for Sheffield Fencing Club, is itching to find her top form from the off when the global showdown kicks off tomorrow.

Rockett, who won bronze in the Épée 4–6 in the 1988 summer Paralympics in Seoul, said: “The aim for Italy is simple – I just want to improve my personal best and improve on the overall rankings get more qualification points for London 2012,” said Rockett - who like the rest of the GB fencing team is supported by Beazley.

“I think there is more pressure with what happens in Italy affecting your qualification for London 2012 but hopefully that is something I can deal with when I get there.

“None of the team get selected until March but we only really have the World Championships and then a World Cup in January before then that are the big international competitions so it is important to get a good result.”

She added: “With the World Championships here now it makes it all the more real that the Paralympics are fast approaching.

“I have been to three Paralympics before but never a home Games and it is something I will never get to be able to experience again so it is something I am working as hard as ever for.

“I think that London 2012 will be very different to the other Paralympics I have been to and it will be tougher in some respects as there will be extra pressure but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

“I also think that London 2012 will be harder than before because people’s mobility and balance has improved so it will be tougher and I am older now but with that means I have the experience and I am hoping that counts for something.”

And despite some less than ideal preparation Rockett insists the desire to find top form is as great as ever.

“Preparation for Italy has been a bit tough because my husband Chris has been ill so I have been looking after him,” she added.

“To get around it I have been getting up early at six to get some training in, in the morning but it just has to be done to be in the best shape for Italy.

“I have put so much work into this and it isn’t just me as my friends and family have given up so much too so I don’t want to let myself or them down.”

• BRITISH Fencing is proudly supported by specialist Lloyd’s insurer Beazley. Go to www.beazleybritishfencing.com for up to date fencing news, pictures and athlete blogs.