Lyle eyeing up brighter future after opening up on off-track worries

Maria Lyle was on the podium in Berlin. Pic: Ben Booth Photography

Maria Lyle is confident a brighter few months are on the horizon after the Scottish sprinter opened up about recent struggles with mental health.

The Dunbar athlete cruised to victory to defend her T35 100m European title in Berlin on Tuesday, but it was subjects off the track that dominated her focus after the race.

Aged just 18, Lyle has had a lot to deal with in her sporting career – with three Paralympic medals, six European titles, a Commonwealth silver and five world medals already in her collection.

But it’s a haul that has come without recent difficulty, doubting whether she would even be on the start line in this week’s World Para Athletics European Championships.

“I’ve had a few difficult years and when you don’t perform, they can eat away at you as a person,” she said.

“You feel like it reflects on you and your training, that can be a bit hard especially when it’s combined with things in your personal life.

“But I’ve got the right people around me, British Athletics and my family and coach are all there so I’m on the mend.

“You expect so much in sport and it’s easy to forget that we are young adults that haven’t properly matured, the sports are starting to recognise this so things are getting better.”

Returning to the track proved a worthwhile venture, Lyle stopping the clock in 15.35 seconds to comfortably take her European title – four years and one day since stunning the world as a 14-year-old European champion.

But her week in Berlin is far from done there, with the Commonwealth silver medallist preparing to go in Sunday’s 200m – already feeling better about what’s to come.

She added: “The medal gives me great confidence, my main aim was to defend my title and I’ve done that in the 100m.
“I can’t ask for anything more, it was a great race so now it’s all about getting back and preparing for the 200m.”

British Athletics works alongside UK Sport and the National Lottery to support the delivery of success at the world’s most significant sporting events, principally the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We do this via the funded initiative, the World Class Programme, one part of the British Athletics pathway.