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Bucks brother and sister on a Paralympic Games mission
SEPTEMBER 7, the Olympic Park in Stratford. You spend the afternoon watching your daughter win a Games gold and just a few hours later your son does the very same thing.
Two medal ceremonies, national anthems, two Union Jacks being raised to the roof.
Your two children beaming back at you from on top of the podium before you return to Wycombe with a bubble of pride stretching your chest out.
That’s what could be awaiting Holtspur parents Trevor and Roz Sharkey after Anna, 24, and Michael, 27, were both selected for Team GB within weeks of each other earlier this summer.
The siblings have made the men’s and women’s goalball squads and, with a bit of luck, will take part in their respective Paralympic finals one after the other on the second Friday of the Games.
“That’s the dream,” Michael said. “I think dad particularly is wrapped up in it all and he bought tickets to all the matches even though we’d get allocated tickets.
“Mum isn’t that sporty, but I think it’s very fun for them to say their two children are going to the Games and it would be amazing if we both got to the final.”
The women are more likely. They won a European gold medal in 2009 while the men were 16th at the World Championships in 2010.
Michael said: “I genuinely don’t think there will be any jealousy if one of us does get to the final and the other doesn’t. Maybe there would be if one of was going to the Game and the other wasn’t but we’re both realistic of what each team can achieve.”
It would be fitting though, for both careers to reach their zenith on the same day.
After all, they have mirrored each other almost exactly from day one and understand the road travelled better than anyone else, getting married within three months of each, going to the same university and doing the same degree (physiotherapy).
Michael said: “We were very close when we were young. We were both born with visual impairments and encountered the same sorts of challenges at school.
“Academically it wasn’t difficult, but kids aren’t always the most understanding of physical disability and it was difficult in a social environment.
“It was quite tough growing up. It wasn’t all bad and we both had friends, but not a huge amount and we ended up spending a lot of time together.”
A consequence of that was attending the same ‘have a go’ day 14 years ago.
Goalball was one of the activities on the agenda and since then they’ve matched each other stride for stride on their surge to the top. Medals in European and World Youth Championships have followed, but this summer promises to top the bill.
Michael said: “There will never be another moment like this and I will cherish it.
“Anna has been a fantastic support for me and it will be very special for us to be there together. We’ve gone through some highs and lows together with goalball.
“Sometimes the men have been doing well and the girls not, sometimes it’s been the other way around, but it really helps having someone who understands.
“She’s been the biggest support in my career and it’s been nice having her as a friend as much as a sister.”
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