Jo Butterfield relaxed about setting tone as Para world champs begin

Jo Butterfield wants to give the hosts the perfect start when the para athletics world championships kick off in London today but the Scot admits her bid isn’t life or death.

The Paralympic gold medallist, 38, will push through injury to defend her F51 club throw title but has a sense of perspective following the spinal tumour that left her paralysed below the waist six years ago.

After trying out wheelchair rugby after leaving the rehab unit in Glasgow, Butterfield’s never looked back since switching sports. And the Plan B it offered has opened up a new world she’s embraced with both hands.

“It’s about grasping every opportunity,” she said. “How many people out there would love to be in front of a crowd in London Stadium and have thousands of people cheering for them? Millions. But I’m the one who gets to do it. I can’t not be thankful for that. But this is a job I have to do. I want to retain my title. But if not, I’ll still wake up the next day as the same person and have the same friends and everything will be all right.”

Butterfield, who recently lost her world record to American rival Rachael Morrison, will be one of four Scots competing in London with Stef Reid, Maria Lyle and Sammi Kinghorn all tipped to pick up medals.

But the elder of the bunch concedes she faces a fight to retain her crown in this evening’s opening event with doctors forced to patch her up to get to the start line.

“The shoulder is hanging in there, no pun intended,” she said. “It won’t be fixed but I’m throwing and throwing well and that’s all that really matters. I just need to take care of it until I get out there and not do too much that it tires the shoulder out.

“I’ve had to be conservative with my rehab. I’ve had different treatments. They’ll look into it more after the worlds but the timing was such that it has to wait.”

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