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Sunday 21 January 2018

'I hid my arm under baggy clothes' - Rio hero Ellen

Kathryn McCance, Gavin Uzell, PJ Gallagher, and Tara Vize launch the €100,000 Coca-Cola Thank You Fund Awards at Zeminar. Photo: Naoise Culhane
Kathryn McCance, Gavin Uzell, PJ Gallagher, and Tara Vize launch the €100,000 Coca-Cola Thank You Fund Awards at Zeminar. Photo: Naoise Culhane

Irish Paralympic medallist Ellen Keane has admitted she grew so insecure about having one arm that she would wear baggy clothes as a teen to hide it.

Clontarf swimmer Keane (22), who won bronze at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, was born without her left arm from below the elbow.

Speaking at Zeminar - Ireland's largest youth conference - in the RDS, she said that while she had now learned to embrace it, there was a lot of difficulty during her teenage years.

"As I got older, I discovered society and I became scared. I started to notice people staring at me a lot, anywhere I'd go I'd have eyes on me," Keane said.

"I started to grow really, really insecure about my body. When I started secondary school, I started to hide myself. I used to wear baggy hoodies or heavy coats so it'd appear like I had two hands. I didn't go anywhere without my two sleeves, no matter what the temperature was outside."

The athlete has since embraced it and said the "minute I rolled up my sleeves was the day my life began".

Former Cork camogie star and life coach Anna Geary also spoke at the event.

Geary spoke to hundreds of students about the tens of thousands of life choices they make daily.

Irish Independent

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