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Teenage sprinter with Cerebral palsy aims for future Paralympics

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As the world’s top Paralympians prepare to take centre stage this week in Tokyo, a teenager with Cerebral palsy is setting his sights on future Paralympic Games as he sprints his way to success.

Tomi Robert Jones, from Heath, Cardiff, has Cerebral palsy, a condition which affects his vision, movement and overall mobility on the right side of his body. Despite this, the 15-year-old has been passionate about running since the age of nine.

Not letting his disability hold him back, Tomi is a sprinter, training several times a week. Recently representing Wales at the National Junior Athletics Championships, the teenager is now preparing for the the 2021 School Games in September. 

Tomi is part of Disability Sport Wales’ Performance Pathway Programme, a scheme designed to offer young people like Tomi training and support to reach their potential within sport. Welsh Paralympic athletes including Kyron Duke, Hollie Arnold, Harrison Walsh and Harri Jenkins, all competing this year, also came through the programme. 

With training halted for almost a year during lockdown, Tomi has now returned to routine training with his coach, Welsh Paralympic sprinter and Team Wales Commonwealth Games athlete, Morgan Jones. 

Morgan Jones on an athletics track
Welsh Paralympic sprinter and Team Wales Commonwealth Games athlete, Morgan Jones, is Tomi's coach.

 

Speaking about being back in the game, Tomi said: “I’m so happy I get to train on an athletics track again. During lockdown I was able to use our garden and the local park, but track training is where I perform my best. I missed the socialising I get from the community of friends I train with so it’s great being back. I’m really looking forward to watching the Paralympics, the Welsh sprinter Jordan Howe is a big inspiration of mine. One day, I hope to be competing as a sprinter in the Paralympics.” 

Discussing the benefits of returning to sport, Sarah Powell, CEO of Sport Wales, said: “At Sport Wales, we’re encouraging people across the country to get back into the game in their own way, whether that’s being part of a team again, getting out and re-connecting with the local community, achieving that post-exercise feeling or just having fun. With the Paralympics currently on our screens and hoping to inspire a nation, Tomi’s aspiration to one day compete there himself is an uplifting reminder that everyone can aim high with their sporting dreams.”

To assist with ensuring people feel supported and motivated to return to exercise, Sport Wales has launched a campaign called #BackintheGame with the aim of inspiring people to fall in love with sport and exercise again this summer. 

To find out more about how you can get back in the game, visit https://www.sport.wales/back-in-the-game/ or use the hashtag #BackintheGame on social media.

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