The Commonwealth Games hold a special place in the heart of history-maker Danielle Brown – and she can’t wait for Birmingham to be the host city next summer and create a legacy of its own. Back in 2010, the double Paralympic champion became the first para athlete to represent Team England in an able-bodied event at the Commonwealth Games. Danielle was selected to compete for her country in Delhi with the archery team.
Danielle, having qualified just behind world number one Nicky Hunt, was selected to compete for her country in Delhi with the able-bodied archery team. And that Games proved very fruitful for Danielle, as she won a gold medal in the Women's Team Compound event, alongside Hunt and Nichola Simpson, to add to her long list of accolades.
“Making the team for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi was just incredible,” said Danielle.
“I wasn't expected to make the team, and so to do it was amazing. Able-bodied is a lot faster paced, it's higher scores so much higher standard of competition, but I was really well-supported. My team-mates were absolutely wonderful."
“To come away with gold as well was unbelievable. I really have to credit my team-mates - Nicky and Nichola - they were both amazing. They gave me so much fantastic advice as they were both much more experienced than I was.
"To do it as a para athlete, I felt like my team-mates didn't see my disability as a hinderance - actually they saw it more as a benefit as we managed to shave a couple of seconds off our time.
Danielle also managed to gain success in the Paralympic Games, winning gold in 2008 and 2012 in the Women’s Individual Compound event - leading her to an MBE in 2013, and also a golden post box painted in her honour in Skipton.
“It’s brilliant to hear about the ambitions of young athletes and how they’re doing, but also the challenges,” she said. “Working with young people through mentoring has just been a really, really inspiring and enriching process for me.
"Bringing all these different athletes together in different sports, talking about their challenges, their successes, and thinking about their goals and what they need to do to get that, I think is brilliant.
“Whilst we think about this, preparing them for the future in different ways, with things like networking and building contacts….that’s also very important and something I didn’t realise as an athlete until I got out of sport.
"It’s not just about equipping these athletes with the tools to progress their sporting career - but thinking about life after sport as well. Working with the Team England Futures project to help with that is going to be great fun.”
Danielle believes that the programme, running during the biggest championships held in the UK since the 2012 Olympics, will provide vital experience for everyone involved.
“My advice to somebody going to a Games for the very first time is to just soak up the experience,” she said. “We learn so much through experience, and even if things don’t go to plan, sometimes you can learn more from that. A home Games in Birmingham is amazing."
“I feel like it’ll have similar vibes to London in 2012, and that left such a massive legacy - I hope we can recreate that with these Games. Sport for me is really about bringing people together and showcasing brilliant performances - I really hope Birmingham does that. We’re going to see some amazing athletes there, doing some amazing things.”