17/09/2012 10:20 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Schoolgirl Who Lost Her Legs To Meningitis Aims To Be Team GB's Next Blade-Runner Star

Schoolgirl who lost her legs to meningitis aims to be Team GB's next blade-runner star

Whatever Jonnie Peacock can do...courageous Lydia Cross hopes to emulate.

For the 11-year-old schoolgirl is training to be Team GB's next blade-running star – with a little help from the man who coached Paralympic gold medal winner Jonnie to 100m glory.

Lydia's legs were amputated when she was two years old because of complications caused by meningitis but her bravery and determination soon got her mobile and now she has become an accomplished runner.

She idolises Jonnie, who lost his right leg, and South African blade runner Oscar Pistorius – and now has her sights on stardom at the Rio Olympics in 2016, when she will be 15.

Lydia, of Braunton, Devon, said: "I'm really inspired by Jonnie Peacock and Oscar Pistorius because of everything they have done.

"I went to the Paralympics and got a day pass, it was great, I watched basketball, tennis and even got to see Oscar in the athletics, it was amazing.

"I think I am going to make it to Rio, and my friends expect me to go there so that's good too.

"My favourite event is the 100m because I think I am quite good at that one, my training is going really well."

Her coach Hayley Ginn, 27, said: "She's very young and her progress all depends on what she wants to do.

"If she takes running seriously as she develops and gets stronger she'll be very good indeed.

"She's also very mature for her age - she's only 11 but when I met her I was shocked, I thought she was about 15.

"In terms of Rio I think she has the character for it and determination, although she is very young and it is very hard.

"We don't want to push her but at the same time the earlier she starts the better.

"I don't want to put too much pressure on her but if she wants to do it then I believe she can get to Rio, she is improving massively every day."

Schoolgirl who lost her legs to meningitis aims to be Team GB's next blade-runner star SWNS

Lydia fell ill with septicaemia which caused multiple organ failure and gangrene, leading to the loss of her legs below the knee. She later won a £1.78m pay-out after a doctor admitted he could have done more to help her when she first fell ill.

She was fitted with prosthetic legs and gave wheelchair racing a go before deciding to use the special athletic blades.

Mum Jodie, 42, said: "She's only 11 and Jonnie Peacock was 15 when he started so he's done it in four years, but it's a lot of commitment.

"Lydia is running 100m in 17.4 seconds and to compete with the women at the Paralympics she needs to be doing it in 13.4 seconds.

"Hayley says she will get there, but Lydia wants to be a bit like Jessica Ennis and do lots of events. She wants to race wheelchairs as well as blades, but when she gets to 14 or 15 she will have to choose."

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