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Jessie Webb

How old are you? I'm 20 years old

Where do you live? Small village just outside of Norwich

I loved sports from a very young age - my favourite sports were athletics and football! When I was at school, sports day was always my favourite day in both primary and high school - I won the Best Female Athlete in my year group 3 years in a row at high school!
When I was part of the Army Cadets, I competed at county, regional and national level in various sports, which included hockey, football and athletics. In the 3 years I competed, I claimed 9 county titles in long jump, high jump, 100m sprint and the 4x100m relay - 5 regional titles (breaking the 100m sprint record in 11.06 seconds!) and 3 national titles!
It didn't come easy. When I was in primary school I suffered from Accessory Navicular Syndrome - which in short is a congenital condition that caused severe pain when walking. After having 2 surgeries, 1 on each foot I was able to walk, run and play football pain free!

In 2016 in my last season with the football academy at Easton College I was diagnosed with a heart condition called Wolff - Parkinson - White Syndrome. This condition causes the heart to go into an abnormal rhythm and causes tachycardia. Within 9 months of being diagnosed I underwent 2 procedures on my heart, unfortunately not completely successful but the condition is manageable now!

I had always suffered with pains in my legs and poor flexibility but we always put it down to complication when I was younger. However, I started to notice before I stop playing football that my legs were much weaker and almost felt as if they weren't moving as fast and doing what I wanted them to do. I found myself falling over quite a lot and would trip when the ground was uneven or going up the stairs. I was later diagnosed with a neurodisbailty that affects the muscles in my legs causing them to become weaker and stiffer. I don't have full range of movement in my joints, especially at the hips and ankles. In order for me walk with out tripping I have to wear splints as I'm not able to lift my foot against gravity.
Having always been a sporty person this took a big toll on me not being able to do what I loved. I had heard about wheelchair tennis previously and thought I might as well give it ago! I had my first lesson and from there I was hooked, I loved the challenge of pushing the chair and hitting the ball at the same time! I attended a camp with the tennis foundation 2 months after trying tennis in a chair and I was selected for the GB Talent ID Development squad! The next month I entered the British Championships and came out winning the Women's Main Draw Doubles Tile with Lauren Jones!

Since then my best ranking has been no. 85 internationally in singles and no.65 in doubles!

Why did you want to get involved in This Girl Can in Norfolk Campaign?

The main reason I wanted to get involved with the This Girl Can campaign is because I want to show the girls and women that no matter what life throws at you, there is always a way! Sports has been a massive part of my life and has helped me through so much! Whether it's going for a walk or being part of a club, able bodied or not - get involved, get active, get the feeling of being in control!

What are your top tips of getting/staying active?

  • Make that first move. Go out for a walk, join a club, try something new! The first step is always the hardest but once that is done, there's no turning back
  • Encourage your friends and family to join you, they may be thinking about getting active but they just need that initial push and encouragement to do so.