‘Your setbacks are ultimately your best successes’ – Putney rower Mia Anderson on proving doubters wrong
TELL PUTNEY rower Mia Anderson that she can’t do something and she’ll do everything in her power to prove you wrong.
It’s a mantra that has already served the 17-year-old well in and out of the water but very soon it could be the difference between a sporting career and missing out.
A physically draining sport at the best of times, Anderson has often battled in herself to achieve her dreams, notably international selection and the nod of events such as Henley Royal.
But the talented teenager has also had to prove wrong those around her, a challenge she admits has been a big driving force in her progression to date.
“Being selected for the Junior World Championships last year was my biggest achievement but it wasn’t easy to get there,” explained the Latymer Upper School student.
“There’s a year-long selection process and you get invited to a final trial. I didn’t make it, I got cut before the final trials but I made it to Race Offs, where those knocked out battle for the final spot.
“I went there not expecting to get through but with nothing to lose and I ended up winning that last spot and from another trial I got selected which I was really proud of.
“But I remember being on the bus home and one of my friends got the selection sheet before I did. He texted me saying how do you feel about not being selected and I was crying my eyes out on the bus.
“But when I got to the Race Offs I let it fuel me. Your setbacks are ultimately your best successes.”
Anderson was speaking at a SportsAid workshop being hosted by the Mayor of London’s office, which is supporting over 75 athletes from in and around the London region, at the London Stadium.
SportsAid helps the most promising young British athletes by providing them with financial support, recognition and personal development opportunities.
The haul of up-and-coming athletes, covering all the London boroughs, from more than 30 sports are receiving £1,000 awards to help with their training and competition costs as they bid to become the country’s next generation of sporting heroes.
The awards, distributed through SportsAid, will see athletes recognise their position as role models to others, and how their stories may help to increase community pride and engagement through inspiring people to take part in sport and physical activity.
SportsAid alumni Anthony Ogogo, Goldie Sayers and Leon Taylor, as well as Commonwealth gold medallist Ama Agbeze, were all on hand at the workshop to provide advice to the athletes.
And Sayers, an Olympic bronze medallist, said: “I was a recipient of the SportsAid award probably 20 years ago now and I kept the letter because it meant so much to me at the time.
“It’s the first recognition that people have seen what you’ve achieved and are supporting you along the way, so for me I like to give back to organisations that helped me in my career.
“The financial support is important but I think more than that, it’s just knowing that an organisation had recognised you as a young athlete with potential to be a senior international.”
The Mayor of London is working with SportsAid to provide financial support and personal development opportunities to talented young athletes from across the capital. Visit https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/sports/sport-unites/sportsaid to find out more.