A woman who had a leg amputated after years of surgery due to an accident has been nominated for a prestigious prize.
Lesley Johnstone, from the Rosemount area, has been nominated for Sports Achiever of the Year at Aberdeen’s Sports Awards for her dedication to badminton, despite having to go through seven years of operations and being told she may never walk again.
In 2010, the now 30-year-old was coming towards the end of her university studies when she had a fall which would change her life. She shattered her right leg – which was eventually amputated – and broke her back.
Lesley said: “I played badminton for most of my teenage and student years, but in 2010 I had my accident and shattered my leg and broke my back.
“For seven years I was pretty immobile and had to use a wheelchair and crutches to get around.
“Year after year I had to get surgery after surgery and in 2017 was told it would be better to get the leg amputated and I made the decision.”
There was then a further setback when Lesley developed epilepsy and required brain surgery.
While still recovering from her operations, Lesley – who now uses a prosthetic – wanted to return to sport, but was worried about going to regular gyms.
In 2016 she started going to AKR Fitness after being told about the gym by a friend and has been going there ever since.
She got in contact with Grampian Disability Sport for advice and guidance on what to do next. They suggested trying out wheelchair tennis, which Lesley played for a while in 2015 before having to stop because of difficulties due to her epilepsy.
Lesley said: “The spinning of the chair made me really dizzy and ill. It actually triggered a seizure after one of my games because of my epilepsy.”
Lesley returned to playing badminton in 2018 and, within a couple of months of training with both Aberdeen Sports Village and an inclusive group in Bucksburn, she was selected for the Scottish para-badminton squad.
Since then, she has been selected to compete in two international events, with qualification points for next year’s Paralympics up for grabs.
Last weekend, Lesley also secured third place in both the mixed doubles and in women’s singles in the UK Para-badminton Championships.
Commenting on her goals for the future, Lesley said: “My hopes are to play more on an international level and win competitions – hopefully I will get to play at Tokyo 2020.”
The Sports Awards will be held at P&J Live on Thursday October 3.
To nominate an individual or club, visit aberdeenssportsawards.co.uk
For full list of categories and criteria, see below: