From suffering with depression and anxiety to becoming a double world champion – it has been quite a year for Maria Lyle.
The Dunbar sprinter completed a memorable World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai as she took gold in the T35 200m in a time of 30.33s, only four days after doing likewise over 100m.
Heading into this week, the Scot had two individual world silver medals from 2015 and two bronze medals from 2017 – as well as a pair of Paralympic bronzes – to her name but has ended her global golden drought in emphatic style.
It is all a far cry from 12 months ago, as years of struggles with anxiety and depression came to a head when, after a race, Lyle walked straight from the track, got into her mum’s car and broke down – overcome by anxiety.
Now recovered, the 19-year-old is thriving on the track once more and admits her performances in Dubai have exceeded her expectations.
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet,” said Lyle after claiming her second gold of the championships. “I think it shows how far I have come from last year when I was depressed and suffering with lots of anxiety.
“I now enjoy life and enjoy training and racing. So, from that perspective, it’s a really good achievement for me.
“The main focus for 2019 was to get to the World Championships, not about medals, so to do that and get two gold medals is the icing on the cake.
“I’m so pleased to win my second gold and put together a good performance. I got out well and just tried not to tense up and stay relaxed.
“I find the 200m a lot harder with my cerebral palsy. I got to the line well and ran a good time. I was a bit nervous at the start as we were held a wee while, so I was just trying to focus on my race plan.”
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