Finding the love of your life should feel euphoric.

But for wheelchair racer Lizzie Williams, 24, meeting her fiancée came with an agonising decision.

Williams travelled to Switzerland just over three years ago simply expecting to attend a training camp.

She didn’t anticipate falling for Rosa, a volunteer physiotherapist who had worked with the Swiss Paralympic team.

A few weeks later Williams was back in Switzerland – this time for a first date. The couple took plenty of photos at dinner, including one of them kissing.

“I always struggled with the idea of coming out,” Williams said. “I didn’t want it to be a big announcement.

“My parents are separated. My dad was fine but my mum was the person I was really worried about.

“She’s Christian. Her generation and what she was taught was completely different.

“I had these pictures. So I just left them out on my desk and then I went off to university.

“A few weeks later she sent me a letter. It said: ‘I don’t really agree but I love you no matter what’. It was incredible.

“It took her seeing me so happy to be cool with it. She loves Rosa! She texts her more than me. She calls her a third daughter.”

Williams, recently named a Stonewall Sport Champion, was speaking at the SJA British Sports Awards and wearing a pair of colourfully-tied Nikes in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign.

She had just returned from a life-changing walk in Norway.

“We were in the snowy forest. Rosa got down on one knee and I thought, this is it.

“Proposing was its own race! She got there first.”

While Williams is happier than ever before, life hasn’t always felt this good.

Six years ago Williams’ major spinal surgery went wrong. What was supposed to be a five-day hospital recovery took four months – completely flipping her life upside down.

“Before that I was swimming competitively and hoping to go to the Paralympics with that,” she said.

“Obviously that didn’t happen and when I came out of that massive four-month period in hospital I was just completely institutionalised and I had no idea what I was going to do with my life.”

It took Williams a year to get back into sport. The former para-swimmer switched into wheelchair tennis where, she said, someone threatened to out her.

“I’ve never really talked about this in an interview,” she said. “But, I was hanging out with people who I thought were supporting and encouraging me and it turned out to be the opposite.

“They were going behind my back and were saying pretty horrible things. It was a massive mental whiplash. I was in a really bad state. I didn’t have it in me to continue.”

But after making the heartbreaking decision to move away from the sport, Williams was approached while volunteering at a disability event by a wheelchair racer who invited her to try it out.

Six weeks later, Williams placed second in her first two races.

“I had this fire again,” she said. “I found that passion to succeed and keep pushing my limits.”

The Arsenal supporter is now determined to qualify for next year’s European Championships and a future Paralympics. She also has a wedding to plan.

“I could never imagine ten years ago I’d be doing this now. I really want to be that role model for someone else.”

When Williams was 14 she would scour the internet for LGBTQ+ people to look up to. Now she is the one becoming the inspiration.