Britney is going for gold!
There were jubilant scenes in Mullagh yesterday evening (Friday) as power lifting star, Britney Arendse (21) waved to the well wishers as she prepared to depart for Tokyo to represent Cavan and Ireland in the Paralympics.
The supporters waved flags and and cheered as the sirens of a garda patrol car and a fire engine blared, adding to the excitement of the occasion.
Britney told the Celt that it is a “great achievement” to get to Tokyo.
“I'm more nervous than excited at this time, as we head off to Dublin to overnight and get the flight to Tokyo early in the morning with the Irish Team. It is a 12-hour flight from London and we will be out there for three weeks,” she revealed.
When asked about her expectation in her power lifting sport, Britney enthused: “I am expecting to get either a personal best or a medal. I will most certainly be doing my best to lift the heaviest weight. The competition is very strong and I'm the only young one there.
“I am very happy with how all my training has gone – I could not be any better prepared. My personal best now is 102 kilos. That would be the same weight as one of my friends”.
Britney came to Mullagh from Capetown in South Africa 15 years ago and both her father Denver and mother Bridgitte are most proud of their daughter's achievements and are confident she will acquit herself well in Tokyo.
“I feel very overwhelmed and proud of her. She has put in five years of hard training for this occasion,” said her father Denver.
“I will feel emotional when I am watching her on the television – that is the time it will hit me.
“I am super proud of Britney – it is like a dream come true for her," he added.
“I love the local people here in Mullagh – they are very supportive. This is my home where I grew up”, smiled Britney,clad all in green.
"She was ready to go last year and it was a big disappointment when it was cancelled,” said mum Bridgitte.
They only got the good news that she had qualified a few weeks ago when she came seventh in the world and the competitors had to be in the top eight to get to Tokyo.
“She is so brave and so good – she is such an inspiration,” said her emotional mother.
Britney is a past pupil of Virginia College and they are all supporting and cheering her on.
“I am in a wheelchair as a result of being in a head-on car collision and the lap belt left me paralysed from the waist down. It was a really bad crash and my mam was in it with me as well. I was just nine years of age when that happened in Bettystown,” explained Britney of her injury.
While she was at a basket ball blitz in 2016, a coach suggested to her to have a go at power lifting.
“I took his advice and got to travel around the world and got an opportunity to meet people with different disabilities. This will be my third time in Japan and I have been to Dubai and England and France and many other places,” she said.
Britney still has a number of relations and family members over in South Africa including her brother Andre and a little bit if her will also be representing South Africa.
Everyone at The Anglo-Celt and the Cavan people wish Britney the best of luck in Tokyo.