14.Aug.12 Budding Rio athlete to be 2012 Paralympic Flame Ambassador
A 14 year old athlete who has come through the Playground to Podium and Disability Sport Events programme has been chosen as the Paralympic Flame Ambassador for Plymouth.
Doaa has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. Two years ago she took up athletics and was picked after winning five gold medals in the National Disabled Athletics Championships in Warwick in July. The five golds are added to her silver medal achieved in the London Mini Marathon.
She will travel to Trafalgar Square in London with the Lord Mayor of Plymouth on August 24, and bring back a part of the Olympic flame. She says she was inspired by watching the Olympics and seeing people pushing themselves to the limit.
"I believe I have the dedication to get to the 2016 Rio Games. I love athletics, but sometimes it's hard. There are days when your body just won't do as much as you want it to. It is a big honour to be chosen as the Flame Ambassador. It feels good to know I've been chosen for something so big. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I would like to say thank you for choosing me."
Together with a grant from the Caudwell Foundation, Doaa’s school raised £3000 for a custom made racing chair and training rollers to use at school during the winter. To further develop wheelchair racing in the area, the Armada Athletics Network sought funding for two new racing chairs to attract new athletes to the sport.
Her coach, Ron Blank, said yesterday that she had the potential to make the 2016 Paralympics in Rio if she keeps going as she is doing. "She has the commitment, but funding is going to be a big problem for her. Her school has been very supportive."
Keith Reed, Armada Athletics Network co-ordinator, said: "We are extremely proud of Doaa as she is a fantastic example of how sport can help someone overcome a disability." Engladn Athletics' Regional Disability Athletics Support Officer Job King added, "Doaa Shayea has made great improvements this year, a P2P athlete from 2010. Doaa walks with crutches, so is very strong and when she started was unaware about wheelchair racing. It was immediately apparent that she is not afraid of hard work!"
To provide extra competition nearby, her club the City of Plymouth AC regularly include Doaa at league, open and county championships. Her next major event is the England Athletics national junior championships for disabled athletes in Birmingham just before the Paralympics start.
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