Former Shrewsbury student Nichakarn (Nini) Ruttanaporn has represented Thailand in the ITU World Triathlon Championships which took place in London at the beginning of September. Nini, who graduated from Shrewsbury in 2008, is currently a Medical student at Leicester University. She has gone in a very short space of time from being a novice athlete to representing her country. Competing in the 20-24 year old category, she finished in 48th place in 2 hours and 34 minutes.

Nini moved to Shrewsbury International School when it first opened in 2003. At her previous school, she had suffered badly at the hands of bullies, who called her names, damaged her belongings and crushed her self-esteem. To make matters worse, a PE teacher would not let her join school running team despite coming first in a 400m race. “That was the worst moment in my life,” she recalls.

Things got so bad that she began to self harm. “I thought this was the only way out of the situation. I Luckily I survived with support from people close to me.”

The move to Shrewsbury was a real turning point for Nini but she admits that it took many years to recover and for her anger to leave her.

“I learnt to change the anger, turning negative energies into positive ones. I used that to focus on my A-levels and also in sport as well. I was rewarded with good grades at A-level and a place in a Medical School at the University of Leicester.

“At the university, I started to run as a hobby and became addicted to it. The more I ran, the stronger I felt both inside and out. The more I think about what happened to me, I ran harder. Running made me a lot fitter, but more importantly help me recover from the inside.

“I was very lucky to have the opportunity from Triathlon Association of Thailand to represent my country in the London event. Now I am proud of myself for coming this far and I know now why my PE teacher wouldn’t let me join the running team … because I can do all three; SWIM, BIKE and RUN!”

Nick Dunn, Director of Sports & Activities at Shrewsbury, says: “This amazing young woman is the perfect embodiment of an athlete showing that with deteremination, hard work, courage and the support of her family and friends, that any one of us can become successful if we believe and try hard enough.”