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Physios get behind athletic Anna

21 March 2012

Health Care

Excitement is mounting in Southend University Hospital’s rehabilitation department as colleague Anna Tipton gets in training for this summer’s Paralympics.

Anna, a chartered physiotherapist from Westcliff, has recently qualified for the GB goalball team, a fast and furious game played blindfolded.

The energetic 24-year-old has been partially-sighted from birth due to a genetic condition which has left her with rod and cone dystrophy and nystagmus. Her vision is tunnelled so she has no peripheral sight and her eyes constantly flick involuntarily.

Her older brother Michael, 27, has also inherited the condition and has himself just been named in the men's GB team.

Anna has been playing goalball since she was about 11 and has already played in four European championships as well as one world championship.

She says: "I just missed out on the Beijing Olympics so to have this opportunity to play in my first Paralympics at home is huge. I am very competitive and love the feeling of being part of a team."

Anna trains with the Thames Valley team based in Ascot, Berkshire where in the run-up to the Games she is now spending most of her weekends, leaving husband Francis a 'goalball widower'.

Anna, who has worked atSouthendUniversityHospitalfor a year, added: "There is a real excitement in the rehab department. The opportunity to represent your country at a home Games only comes once in a lifetime. A number of my colleagues have bought tickets and everyone has been really encouraging."

Her first match will be on August 30.