BINSTED’S George Hermitage won two gold medals for Great Britain at the World Para Athletics Championships in London, smashing her own 400m T37 world record before going on to notch a second title in the 100m.
For the 28-year old athlete, who lives with her partner, Ricky, and daughter Tilly, it was an experience to cherish.
Her amazing journey began on Thursday, July 20, when she rounded-off 10 minutes of “sheer joy” for the British team in the 400m after following teammate Hannah Cockroft, who had just clinched her third world title at the London Stadium, on to the track.
Tunisia’s Neda Bahi started strongly and established an early lead but coming around the final bend she began to fade and Hermitage raced to the front and held her pace to the line.
Having destroyed the 400m field to break her own world record in a time of one minute 0.29 seconds, Hermitage, who has cerebral palsy, came out the very next day and romped home in the 100m T37 race.
The World Para Athletics Championships ended on Sunday (July 23) after more than 1,150 athletes from 90 countries had competed in 202 events. Ms Hermitage took up Paralympic sport after watching the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
She had given up athletics at a young age after having been encouraged to compete in disability sports, because she had cerebral palsy, but was inspired by Mo Farah’s Olympic success and wanted to have her own “London Moment” at the World Athletics Championships.
She owes her success to dedicated training and courage which is helping her compete at the highest level, despite her disability, and now has Tokyo 2020 firmly in her sights.
“Tokyo 2020 was never in my thoughts, originally,” she said. “When I first took it up it was Rio and then finish, but that is no way going to happen now.
“I have to do it step by step and, body willing. I’ll then take it year on year with Tokyo 2020 in my sights, as I’d love to be able to defend my titles, but it just depends on whether I am competitive enough.”
Nick Upshall, of Binsted gym Mint Condition, has played an important part in Georgie’s sporting success because it was there that she started out on the path that would eventually lead her to athletics glory.
He told The Herald: “Georgie came to us in 2013 – just after the birth of her daughter – and we started her on a programme that had to be different from one for an
able-bodied athlete because of her cerebral palsy. We did exercises to help with balancing and building up muscles and body strength – so that she was able to take to
the running track without injuring herself.
Early in 2016 she became European Champion in the 100m, 200m and 300m, and gave up her job at The Hogs Back Brewery, near Farnham, to become a full-time athlete in training for the IPC World Athletics Championships.
Ms Hermitage was made an MBE for her services to sport in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.