Nominees for Young Disabled Sportsperson of the Year 02 Nov
In May this year, Keele took part in the 2016 Dwarf National Games, achieving three Gold medals and two Silver in a variety of fields from sprinting to hockey and swimming. What makes this young man's achievements even more outstanding is the fact that only twelve months ago Keele was wheelchair bound following a series of complicated and painful operations aimed at lengthening his legs. After the surgery he was immobile for six months. He is incredibly determined and has shown time and time again that nothing holds him back. Keele has set his sights firmly on becoming a Paralympian for Great Britain, a goal that we truly believe will come true. Away from his sporting excellence Keele sets a positive example to other students with his 97% attendance and is a dedicated and considerate scholar. Keele won the Secondary Achieving through Adversity Award at this year's Lincolnshire Education Awards.
Jennifer won Bronze with Team GB in the Italy Deaf World Cup, June 2016. Jennifer has taken being hearing impaired in her stride and mixed with other children for the love of football. At 13 she tried out for the FA Lincolnshire Player Development Squad. She led the group in terms of talent and was soon sent for trials at the Regional Deaf Camps in Derby, where Jennifer travelled to train with other deaf players. Last year she gained a squad place with the GB team on their tour to Germany. This year, Jennifer made the GB squad again and flew for two weeks in Italy and won a Bronze medal at the Deaf World Cup. She was incredibly home sick, she had to pick up lots of new signs quickly and experience high quality football like never before - it was a big challenge. Jennifer has more recently been training with England 7 (seven-a-side futsal) and building her fitness to progress within this field. Jennifer is truly the definition of determination, resilience, focus and motivation and she holds these qualities in bucket loads. She also achieves all of this with an amazing smile. She is deserving of this award for her grassroots to GB Deaf World Cup achievement.
Thomas is a 12 year old national and international race-runner. This involves athletics events with the athlete running on a three-wheeled trike with no pedals. Thomas has cerebral palsy which means he has permanent brain damage caused at birth, meaning he cannot walk independently. He only took up the sport of race-running in late 2013 after attending a sport taster session for people with cerebral palsy. In November 2014 he joined Lincoln Wellington Athletics Club and started to train seriously as a race-runner. Thomas competed for the first time in May 2015 in Manchester and he broke the national age group record for under 12's for 100 metres and 200 metres. In July 2015 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium he set three new national age group records. At the National CP Championships in September 2015 he broke the national record for the 200m again. In the 2016 season, Thomas has moved up an age group to under 14s and he has added the 800m to his disciplines, which he ran for the first time in York in April. Since then, he has taken 16 secs of his PB for 800m and has also broke the national age group record for 400m, achieving PB's so far in his 100m and 400m, as well as the 800m. In July 2016 Thomas represented England at the CPISRA 20th International RaceRunning Camp and 3rd European Championships in Fredriksberg, Denmark. This was his first ever international competition and Thomas competed in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m races. He won Gold in the U14 RR3 classification for each of those events. Over 86 athletes from 11 nations competed and became European Champion.
We'd like to say a huge congratulations to the three nominees and wish them the best of luck at the 2016 Lincolnshire Sports Awards on Thursday 3 November. You can follow the evening on Twitter and get involved using #LSA2016!