THERE are some who would find the pressure of being number one in the world going into a home World Championships somewhat overwhelming.

But Stef Reid is confident that being a gold medal favourite at the World Para Athletics Championships, which begin in London today, is exactly what she needs to bring out the very best in her.

“I believe there’s some performances that you can only deliver when you have the adrenalin flowing and you have the crowd behind you,” Reid explains.

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“I don’t feel that being at home is an extra pressure – you want people to share and enjoy what you do and you can’t do that in an empty stadium.”

Tomorrow has the potential to be one of the best days of Reid’s career.

The Scot is currently ranked top in the world in the T44 long jump and she goes into tomorrow’s final looking to win the first global gold of her career. She has already amassed quite a haul of major championships medals with silver at both the 2012 and the 2016 Paralympic Games particular highlights.

To go one better this time, Reid will have to out-jump both women who beat her to the top step of the podium in London and Rio but the 32 year-old is up for the challenge, albeit she admits there are a few nerves.

“I’m really excited,” Reid says. “Coming up to a World Championships, you always feel a certain amount of apprehension but there’s a massive difference between the anxiety you feel when you’re going to sit an exam compared to the anticipation you feel before you go to a big party and I definitely have the party nerves.

“I’d be worried if I didn’t feel anything so you want a few butterflies.”

Reid is one of four Scots selected in the 49-strong British team for London 2017 and is the most experienced of the quartet, with almost a decade of world-class competition under her belt.

Born in New Zealand, she spent her childhood in Canada but qualifies to compete for Scotland through her father.

A boating accident when she was 15 led to her foot being amputated and having been a rugby player prior to the accident, it was in the period following her recovery that she took up athletics.

Within a handful of years, she was a Paralympic bronze medallist in the 200m before ultimately switching to long-jump.

Para sport has enjoyed something of a transformation since the London 2012 Paralympic Games and Reid agrees that having heard stories from former Paralympians about their struggle for respect, there could not be a better time to be an elite para athlete, particularly in Britain.

“We are so lucky in this country to have the expertise and the will to keep hosting these major events – we are the envy of every other nation,” she says.

“At London 2012, the crowd was amazing and I wish everybody, at some point in their life, could feel what it’s like to have 80,000 people sharing your passion. There’s no better time to be a para athlete and there’s been so many shifts in mindset.

“There’s been massive progress but we need to keep moving forward.”

Reid’s success has opened many doors, including her becoming a fashion model for Debenhams and at London Fashion Week, but one thing she has found profoundly frustrating over the past few years is the talk that the legacy of London 2012 has been squandered.

Nothing, she believes, could be further from the truth.

“I get so annoyed every time I read headlines saying that the London 2012 legacy is dead because that’s just not my experience,” she says.

“I’ve met so many kids since 2012 who got have got into sport – not necessarily to become Paralympians but they realised that they’re not excluded from sport anymore.

“The time I really knew things had changed was when I was squatting in the gym and two guys, who had no idea who I was, approached me and asked me for advice on how to squat. I thought, you’re asking a girl with an artificial leg how to squat? If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is.”

While she is not targeting a specific colour of medal, she knows that anything other than her very best will leave her unsatisfied.

“It’s not necessarily to do with a medal placing – my coach and I know what we’ve worked on it’s really important to me that I feel like I’ve done my best. I like that I’m going in with a target on my back because that means that people believe in me.

“I’ve always been like that – I think it’s nice to have expectation on you.”