A Sunderland teenager with dreams of Paralympic glory is representing Team GB at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Manchester.
Aidan Turnbull, 18, studies Health and Social Care at Sunderland College has been selected by UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disabilities (UKSA).
He will join the British team competing at the 7th INAS World Indoor International Athletics Championships from March 14-18 and will be running in the 60m, 200m and the 4x200m relay.
Aidan, from Washington, said: “I was absolutely speechless when I found out I had been selected. It was a dream come true and I’m so excited to be competing. London 2012 Paralympic selectors will be at the event picking the team for the summer so I’m desperate to do well.”
Aidan has previously travelled with Mencap to France to represent England at the European International Indoors Championship but a lack of funds prevented him competing in a similar event in Italy.
Helping Aidan raise much needed funds has been Richard Marshall, disability advisor and Aidan’s personal tutor at Sunderland College.
Richard said: “Aidan is an incredibly dedicated athlete and student, supported by fantastic parents who are totally committed to him achieving his dreams.
“We’re raising money to help Aidan enter as many competitions as he can so we can increase his chances of Paralympic selection.”
Staff and pupils at Sunderland College have already organised several fundraising initiatives helping raise nearly £1,000.
Aidan’s mother, Connie Turnbull said: “We’re immensely proud of Aidan and do everything we can to help him succeed. We are constantly fund-raising to finance his sport and ensure he can compete at this level.”
Anyone interested in donating to or sponsoring Aidan should contact Richard Marshall at Sunderland College on 0191 511 6622.