Anne's inspirational story

14 years ago I was a very typical, unfit, housewife and mother. Four years ago I underwent emergency surgery for a back injury. Last year I became World Champion at a sport I only took up at the end of 2012. Yes, I have been lucky in finding the right sport for me, but so can you....all you have to do is be open to change and learn to say yes........

Fear of judgement

Fear of judgement is a fact of life for women around sport, my experiences tell me it comes in two forms, worrying about how our bodies look and worrying about other people look at our proficiency. The world is full of celebrity 'role models' looking effortlessly (or so we are led to believe) amazing or reaching incredible athletic achievements. The majority of women aren't like this. I meet women all the time who love to exercise - but only if it is inclusive, fun, sociable, do-able and doesn't single them out. Therefore seeking out a friendly like minded activity group such as a club, boot camp or exercise class, which is full of banter makes that fear melt away. It really is about finding the right group for you and getting started!

Life balance

Next to Kayaking my other sport is juggling! Seriously though, last year I was working almost full time and supporting both my kids who were taking GCSE and A level exams. My partner spent a lot of time abroad and I was training full on as team GB athlete. It could have been a nightmare!

I am not going to say it was easy, but in order to manage I seriously prioritised. I just didn't do things that were not important (who needs to iron shirts anyway?!). I also 'outsourced' the jobs I personally didn't need to do, giving me more time for my top priorities: my family, my training and my work.

Parental influences

I was a very shy, awkward child growing up and was also freakishly tall. Luckily my parents encouraged me to do sport and I found it was something I enjoyed away from the teasing at school. I wasn't shy while being in a team of like-minded people and it gave me permission to look how I looked. I wouldn't say that I was particularly good at anything, but I enjoyed nonetheless. Our family holidays were always active ones, my parents have the same lust for adventure that I do. I've never actually sat on a beach! We skied, surfed, rode bikes, climbed mountains, rode horses - I can't say I was entirely happy with this all the time, but I now feel very grateful to have been given so many opportunities.