Bethy Woodward admits she wasn’t expecting to claim a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games and says the experience was completely different to competing at the London 2012 Paralympics.
The 21-year-old, who used to attend Rudolph Steiner School in Kings Langley, finished as the runner-up in the Para-sport women’s long jump T37/38 class in Glasgow after recording a distance of 4.00m.
Australia’s Jodi Elkington took gold with a world lead distance of 4.39m.
Woodward’s silver was England’s first athletics medal at the Games. She only started training for the long jump six months ago and admits it hasn’t been easy to make the temporary switch from the 400m.
“The long jump is difficult because of the technique involved,” she explained. “It was a new event for me and many of the other girls because only a selection of classes and events are chosen for the Commonwealth Games.
“So it was difficult to judge how you’d do. A lot of us had switched over to the long jump in order to compete so I didn’t know what to expect or what other people had been jumping.
“But I am delighted to have won a silver medal and it’s a nice reward for all the effort I’ve put into training for the long jump over the last six months.”
Woodward’s adaptability has seen her finish fifth in the 100m at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, win gold over 400m at the 2011 IPC World Championships before claiming 200m silver at the London Paralympics the following year.
She says the atmosphere in Scotland was very different to London and felt the crowd was more “intimate” at Hampden Park.
She explained: “Competing in Scotland was like competing at a home Games, we had great support.
“It was very different to my first Commonwealth Games because when I competed in Delhi I was only 17 and at that time Para-sport wasn’t as popular as it is now.
“So it was great to have a bigger crowd to perform in front of and it really helps you.
“It was a really fantastic experience and the crowd were absolutely unbelievable. I was really happy to get England’s first [athletics] medal at the Games and it really got the ball rolling.”
She added: “There were a lot more people in London and the level of noise at the Olympic Stadium was something I’ve never heard before.
“It was a smaller stadium in Scotland but that meant it was a little bit more intimate, which I liked.
“It meant you could really connect with the crowd whereas in London it was just an incredible noise.”
Woodward’s focus now switches back to the 400m and the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea next month.
She is looking forward to returning to her primary event and is confident of clinching another medal at the competition.
She said: “I am feeling confident of being able to go there and get another medal. Training has been going well so far and I’ve already taken a second off my personal best.
“I’m confident I can get that down by another second and if I am able to do that then I should be able to finish in the medal positions.”