5th October 2018
FORTUNE LOOKS BACK ON "AMAZING" CHAMPS IN BERLIN
There were few bigger scalps at the WPA European Championships this summer than Sabrina Fortune (coach: Ian Robinson) beating the reigning Paralympic and world champion Ewa Durska to F20 shot put gold.
We caught up with the 21-year-old just over a month after the victory to reflect that significant moment, her aspirations for the next few years, and look into the world of sugar craft which occupies her time away from the athletics life.
Fortune won Paralympic bronze in 2016, but the triumph in Berlin was her finest achievement to date, throwing one of her best distances in the competition, and leading throughout against one of the most competitive fields at the championships.
13.30 metres was the winning distance, and she led from the very first throw of 12.89m, securing the title for the very first time.
After a season where she threw a PB and world lead of 13.70 metres, Fortune reflects fondly on what she achieved in Berlin.
“To produce that distance in competition was just mind-blowing. It was a really good day, and it felt amazing to actually throw that distance.
“After getting so many PBs all season, I thought I wouldn’t get the 13 metres out there [at the championships], but once I hit the first 13 metre throw, it just carried on going up throughout the competition which was amazing.”
On receiving her medal, she added: “It was so emotional to hear the national anthem and watch the flag go up. It made me so proud to represent my country and receive that gold medal.”
There has been a big improvement in her form during 2018, bouncing back from disappointment at London 2017 with aplomb, delivering the best season of her career to date.
She gives an insight into what she and her team have worked on to see the improvement.
“A lot of it is down to the work we did in the gym with Ed Harper and the team at One Gym; we have done a lot more work this year which has made me stronger.
“I’ve also altered my technique which has come along a lot better. We were focusing on me throwing more down the middle and not straying towards the left-hand side.
“We’ve also been working on making the last phase of the throw a lot faster, so I could get my foot down a lot quicker. We’ve done a series of drills to see how I could improve it. Everything is difficult when you first change it, but it was better to do that than doing the same thing and not improving.”
And she has been rewarded for making the change this year.
The Flintshire-based athlete has been selected for every major championship since 2015, and believes she now has a lot of experience to pass onto her teammates, which she has taken a more proactive role in doing during 2018.
“I was talking to a lot of the new athletes in Germany and a few of them were scared of the cameras filming them for example, and I gave them some tips to focus on their own event and not anything else. You can only learn from your own experience. I was scared stiff of the cameras in Doha and Rio but it is something that I am used to now.”
For now, she is enjoying some downtime after a long season which has allowed her more time to do her hobby, which is baking cakes and decorating them with sugar craft, a pastime that started four years ago and has stuck ever since.
“My favourite cake to bake is a coffee and walnut cake. I made a west highland white dog recently out of sugar for a cake for my mum; that took a couple of hours to construct. I’m making a cake now for an autism charity [and also donating a top from the Rio Paralympic Games] which is a moon with little aliens popping out and Wallace and Gromit on top!”
So, will we see her on Bake Off soon?
“Maybe, you never know!”
For now, she is simply looking ahead to an exciting few years in the sport with the World Championships in Dubai next November, and the Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020. But for Fortune, she has her own targets in mind.
“I need to keep working on my technique and improving that, so I can try and hit 14 metres in the future. I want to do more weights to get stronger, and most importantly I just want to have fun and enjoy the next few years, which are going to be very exciting.”