Riches: I've even met Stephen Fry

Naomi Riches, second left, celebrates her Games gold

Naomi Riches, second left, celebrates her Games gold

First published in Local Sport

NAOMI Riches admits she still hasn’t come down to earth after winning rowing gold at the Paralympics two months ago.

The Marlow star topped the podium in the mixed cox fours at Eton Dorney, and says her life has been a bit of a whirlwind ever since.

Apart from training twice a day, six days a week, Riches has had plenty to fill her time besides.

She said: “Everything has been full-on ever since the Paralympics.

“I have been called to appear at everything from singing at the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall to receiving a special award from the Mayor of Harrow. It’s been crazy really.

“I’ve even got to meet Stephen Fry, which capped one ambition.

“The past few months, since winning gold, have been crazy but I wouldn’t swap it for the world. I’m a Paralympic gold medallist, and that is still sinking in really.”

The 29-year-old started rowing for Great Britain while she ws studying at Buckinghamshire New University in 2006.

Bronze in Beijing followed two years later, before she reached the pinnacle of her sport in London.

She’s not finished yet though, and the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Seoul is her next target.

She said: “I hope I can put across the message to people I meet that with hard work and determination you can achieve you goals and ambitions, no matter how overwhelming it seems at first.

“In the rowing team we have a saying ‘always row as if you’re in bronze medal position’, so even if you have achieved what you were aiming for in training, you then just strive for an even better result.

“I think that’s an ethos that has served me well so far but we will have to see whether I can make it to the next Paralympics in Rio in 2016. I would love to be there but it is a long way off and there are a lot of other athletes competing for spots on the team.”

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