WILTSHIRE'S Cornelia Oosthuizen will get a taste of big competition when she travels to next week's Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang as part of the Paralympic Inspiration Programme.

The Tilshead-based wheelchair tennis player is taking part in the scheme, a partnership between the British Paralympic Association (BPA) and Help for Heroes, which was first launched at London 2012, gives athletes and coaching staff the opportunity to experience several days at a Paralympic Games.

She will join five other athletes and a coach to experience the Programme which is formed of athletes across five Paralympic sports - Para alpine skiing, Para Nordic skiing, wheelchair curling, Para canoe and wheelchair tennis - and aims to provide developing athletes with knowledge that will prepare them for a future Games.

Oosthuizen, who served with the British Army, Adjutant General’s Corps Educational and Training Services and was deployed to Afghanistan, was discharged from the Army in April 2016 after being diagnosed with Type 1 Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

Two years earlier, during the Army Lawn Tennis Association’s Championships, her peripheral and central nervous systems malfunctioned causing severe pain in her right foot and lower limb.

She said: "Being given the opportunity to see into the world of elite sport and to be able to gun for the highest levels of sporting excellence myself is a true privilege and a long-held childhood dream come true. I will give it everything I’ve got.”

"It has been difficult to acknowledge the real physical and mental limitations I experience as a result of suffering from CRPS. I have also found dealing with an unknown prognosis tricky.

"However, I am still learning how best to adapt my life in a way that limits the debilitating effects the chronic pain has on my mental wellbeing. I recently started to incorporate sport into my rehabilitation routine which has been the most effective morale boost to date.''

In Pyeongchang, the athletes will look to understand the scale and scope of the Games, experience the multi-sport environment and learn about some of the unique aspects of a Paralympic Games, including the Village, the media spotlight and mixed zone, and the crucial operations and logistics which support ParalympicsGB.

There will also be lessons about nutrition, media, anti-doping, competition planning and goal setting, as well as to the expectation that they will keep up with their current training programmes.